Lunch with Marcelo Papa, and a very sexy Syrah
Had lunch yesterday with one of Chile's most able and influential winemakers: Marcelo Papa of Concha y Toro. He's in charge of the wines from Chile's largest wine company; fortunately for Chile, Concha over-deliver at every price point.
Their Casillero del Diablo brand is a big one, but the wines are really good. For example, 1.2 million cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 were made, but quality isn't compromised. With such large volumes, three blends of this are usually made during the year. 'I try to make them as similar as possible,' says Marcelo.
We met in the Kensington Wine Rooms (nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate) which was impressive. The food was excellent - good modern bistro style - and they have five enomatic wine preserver machines, which means that they are able to offer tasting pours (currently these are illegal measures, but this is about to change) of a wide range of wines, in the same way that The Sampler in Islington currently does.
Marcelo's main theme? It's the move away from the central wine regions (e.g. Colchagua, Rapel, Maipo, Maule) to the newer coastal regions (San Antonio, Leyda, Elqui, Limari, Casablanca) for white wines. The key to this shift has been water availability, and the result of moving to cooler coastal areas has been much better whites. Watch out for the new wave of Chilean white wines!
But of all the wines we tried, it was a red that really wowed me. It's the Maycas del Limari Syrah Reserva Especial 2006 Limari Valley. At £12.49 in Majestic this is a total bargain. Marcelo had decanted it, and it was showing amazing texture, richness and elegance, with loads of sweet dark fruit and persistent but fine-grained tannic structure. If Majestic have any left (they only have it in about half their stores), then this a definite buy.