jamie goode's wine blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Costero Riesling: an affordable gem from Chile

A few days ago I blogged on the brilliant Costero Syrah, from Vina Leyda. Well, here's the Riesling. Watch out Australia: this is a very impressive dry Riesling at an affordable price. It would be great to sneak this into a line-up of the best Aussie Rieslings, because I think it would do quite well.

Costero Riesling 2008 Leyda Valley, Chile
Very pure with notes of lime, grapefruit and mandarin. Tight palate with freshness and an almost salty minerality. A bright expression of Riesling with some subtle herby notes. Delicious. 88/100 (£6.95 Majestic if you buy more than one Chilean wine)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An inexpensive, delicious Chilean Syrah

Tonight's tipple? A really great Syrah from Chile. It's from Leyda, a cool climate region on the coast, where there's only just enough warmth to get the Syrah grapes ripe. This leaves them with a lovely peppery freshness, although this isn't your average crowd-pleasing Chilean red, because it has edges. But I think it's the edges that make it interesting.

Costero Syrah 2008 Leyda, Chile
From Vina Leyda. An amazingly vibrant, edgy Chilean Syrah with some meatiness to the red fruits, as well as a hint of white pepper. The palate has high acidity and some grippy tannins, making it a good food option. There's just a hint of that Chilean rubbery character, but that doesn't detract overly from the impact of the wine. You're getting a lot more wine here than you are paying for. 89/100 (£6.95 Majestic when you buy more than one bottle of Chilean wine)

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Monday, May 18, 2009

How to scare the Kiwis

I have yet to report on a remarkable tasting I took part in last Friday. It was led by Montana's head winemaker Jeff Clarke, and it was an attempt to discuss what 'icon' level Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc might look like. Montana are midway through a project, aided by top wine scientist Denis Dubourdieu, to work out where they are going with development of a high-end Sauvignon.

A small group, including Julia Harding, Oz Clarke, Stephen Spurrier, Quentin Johnson, Jane Parkinson, Robert Joseph and myself tasted 24 high-end Sauvignons from around the world, blind.

I won't spill the beans yet - this is something I want to write up in detail - but it was a really interesting tasting. There was quite a divergence of opinion among us as we discussed the wines. For example, one South African that was just a blast of methoxypyrazine was disliked by me, but loved by Stephen Spurrier. This was just one example of many where experienced tasters disagreed about what made for top-notch Sauvignon.

Oz Clarke bought along Vina Leyda's Garuma Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Chile's Leyda Valley, and this was slipped into a flight of Sancerres. It looked really good, so much so that the following day I bought a bottle of the 2007 in Waitrose to try at home. This is an impressive effort, and if I was a Kiwi I'd be concerned: it's real competition to Marlborough.

Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard 2007 Leyda, Chile
Pretty serious. Lovely fresh grapefruit and lime nose with some fresh grassy notes. The palate is concentrated, limey and mineralic with some lovely crisp, taut fruit. Lively and expressive. 90/100 (£8.99 Waitrose)

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Impressive Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Chile is a wine country that is learning and developing fast. One of the most exciting things about Chile is that winegrowers are eagerly prospecting for new vineyard areas, and a relatively recent discovery is Leyda. It is a cool-climate, coastal wine region adjacent to the more established (but still quite new) Casablanca Valley, and it's currently making some really impressive Sauvignon Blancs, as well as some smart Pinot Noir. Here's a wine from Leyda that I like a lot. It's sophisticated and even a little understated.

Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Attractively packaged, this Sauvignon comes from the cool-climate coastal Leyda region in Chile. Itís quite impressive, with a mandarin and grapefruit notes, as well as some green pepper and a bit of minerality. Concentrated but smooth and quite understated, this is sophisticated rather than showy. A serious effort. 91/100 (£8.99 Waitrose)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Two impressive Chileans

I used to be a bit of a Chile sceptic. Since my January visit, though, I've seen plenty of reasons for optimism about Chilean wine. Yes, there's still a bit of a problem with greenness in reds, and a bit more diversity and complexity in the higher-end wines would be welcomed. And I also think the country needs more boutique wineries, pushing the boundaries of quality on a small scale. But there's a dynamism to the current Chilean wine scene that suggests that in five years time, the picture will be a very different one.

Tonight two interesting wines, both from UK supermarket Marks & Spencer. Not perfect, but encouragingly good, and considering the prices, better than almost all other new world countries can do at this level.

Secano Pinot Noir 2007 Leyda Valley
Made for Marks & Spencer by Vina Leyda. This is a really vibrant Pinot Noir with lovely pure, sappy cherry and raspberry fruit, complemented by a subtle spicy, medicinal note that remains in the background. It's perhaps a little too green and herbal, but the fresh, bright fruit here has a lovely purity to it. It's a delightfully fresh wine that tastes like Pinot. Very primary, but quite joyful. 88/100 (£6.99 Marks & Spencer)

Corralillo Chardonnay Reserve 2005 San Antonio
This biodynamic white comes from Matetic, one of Chile's most exciting producers. It's almost overpowering, with intense flavours of nuts, vanilla, figs, citrus fruits and spice. Super-rich and very ripe, this wine almost has too much flavour for its own good. It really comes into its own with richly flavoured food, where the weight of the wine isn't quite so obvious. It would also work quite well with cheese. A big, complex Chardonnay for current drinking, and not for the timid. 90/100 (£9.99 Marks & Spencer)

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