Visiting Chile's wine regions
Part 5: Casas del Bosque, Chile   


Next visit was Casas del Bosque, a large family owned winery in Casablanca that was established in 1993 by  Juan Cuneo Solari, an Italian immigrant's son. The property is huge – 1000 hectares in all, with 245 hectares of vines.

We visited the vineyards and cellars with winemaker Felipe Garcia (above), and tasted through an interesting series of wine. Felipe had prepared an interesting comparative tasting looking at the effects of different clones of Syrah.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the white wines grown here, with Merlot, Carmenère, Syrah and Pinot Noir making up the reds. In addition, there are 13 hectares of red varieties in Rapel. Production totals 60 000 cases a year, and next year they expect to crush 1000 tons (60% white grapes).  

Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva 2007 (tank sample)
This used to be made entirely of clone 1 (gives structure and weight), but now is 50% clone 1, 30% clone 242 (tropical notes) and 20% clone 107 (higher acidity). Crisp, grassy aromatics. Palate is rounded and tasty with good acidity and balance. 88/100

Chardonnay Reserve 2007
From clayey soils, which Felipe reckons means concentration for whites. 65% barrel fermented. Bold, rich, intense style with some rich, almost sweet nutty notes. Broad and rich textured. 87/100

Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2007
Very bright with fresh, pure cherry fruit and a spicy, slightly tarry edge. Bright with some grippy tannins. Attractive. 89/100

Pinot Noir (special bottling) 2007
Just 800 bottles of this made. ‘Pinot is my biggest target in the future’, says Felipe. This has a lovely dark cherry and spice nose. The palate is complex, dense and spicy with nice freshness. Quite elegant with good structure. 91/100

Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva 2007 Rapel
Pure blackcurrant fruit nose with some elegance. The palate shows smooth, rich black fruits with accessible, tasty fruit. 88/100

Then it was time for an experiment. Four barrel samples of Syrah from different clones. Felipe points out that Chile makes two different types of Syrah – big and alcoholic, and cool climate. His preference is, clearly, for the cool climate style.

Syrah 2007 massale selection
Very dark and intense. Almost floral peppery nose is very rich. The palate is vivid, bold and intense with ripeness and freshness combining well. 92–94/100

Syrah 2007 Clone 300
Amazing dark colour. Vivid, concentrated nose is fresh, spicy and almost peppery. The palate is bold and intense with fantastic concentration and structure. 92–94/100

Syrah 2007 Clone 99
Really perfumed dark spicy nose. Vibrant with excellent definition. The palate has chocolatey richness with some oak evident. Rich and a bit tarry. 91–93/100

Syrah 2007 Clone 174
Rich, alluring spicy chocolatey nose. Quite perfumed and showing some oak. The palate is really structured with concentrated, bold fruit and sweet, roasted oak notes. Very forward. 89–92/100

A blend of the four together:
Dark, intense and vivid with some chocolatey, spicy richness and firm tannins. A massive dark wine combining vivid fruit with richness and spiciness. Really tannic. Impressive. 91–94/100

Estate Selection 2006 (barrel sample)
A blend of Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Carmenère. Highly aromatic, perfumed nose of red and black fruit. The palate is quite elegant with spicy plummy, cherry and berry fruit. Lots of tannin. Very refined but highly structured and quite oaky. This should age really well. 90–93/100

Grande Bosque Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (barrel sample)
Quite elegant red fruits with vivid fresh fruit and firm tannins. There’s massive structure here and good acidity. One for the future – potentially really impressive in an elegant style. 90–92/100


Wines tasted 01/08  
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