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The wines of ViŮa Montes, Chile

Montes, for me sums up what is right, and also what could be better, about Chilean wines. Hereís a line-up of utterly consistent, very tasty wines. They are wines that Iím happy to drink and enjoy. But (and I feel terrible for saying this) tasting these wines is a bit like driving a sports car with the top gear missing. Thereís an extra dimension that is lacking, even with the Alpha M and Montes Folly, icon-style wines that retail at £35. Itís a theme I keep finding with Chile. Sweet ripe fruit will only take a wine so far.

Montes Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Casablanca
Really lovely assertive nose with vibrant grassy and gooseberry flavours. Nice stuff: assertive and fresh. Very good+ 88/100 (
£5.99 Majestic, Sainsbury, Waitrose)

Montes Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Leyda 
Full, intense gooseberry nose. Ripe, quite sweet, semi-peachy palate is rich grassy and fruity. Nice wine. Very good+ 88/100 (£7.99 Hedley Wright)

Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2004 Casablanca
Rich toasty, nutty, creamy nose with sweet vanilla and coconut from the oak. Really good concentration on the palate with nice, sweet, creamy fruit. A rich, accessible wine. Very good+ 89/100 (£9.99 Majestic, Tesco, Morrisons)

Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon/CarmenŤre 2004 Colchagua
Sweet blackcurrant fruit nose with a smooth vanilla edge. Very accessible, sweet and smooth in an ultra-seductive style. Good oak use here. Very good+ 87/100 (£7.99 Majestic)

Montes Alpha Merlot 2003 Colchagua (Apalta Vineyards)
Sweet blackcurrant fruit nose with a savoury, spicy twist. Nice minerally spicy undercurrent to the palate which shows smooth sweet fruit and a bit of tannin. Delicious. Very good+ 89/100 (£9.99 Majestic)

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Colchagua (Apalta Vineyards)
Sweet blackcurrant pastille nose. The palate has nice spicy structure to the sweet fruit. Thereís a hint of savouriness here. Very good+ 88/100 (£9.99 Majestic, Tesco, Morrisons)

Montes Alpha Syrah 2003 Colchagua (Apalta Vineyards)
Smooth sweet black fruits nose. Sweet spicy palate is backed by some structure, and shows attractive dark fruits. Tasty. Very good+ 89/100 (£9.99 Waitrose)

Montes Alpha M 2002 Santa Cruz (Apalta Vineyards)
Sweet liqueur-like nose with a minty, spicy edge. The palate has sweet spicy structure. Itís quite big and intense, but not quite showing what itís capable of at the moment, I suspect. Very good+ 88/100 (£35 Waitrose)

Montes Folly Syrah 2002 Santa Cruz (Apalta Vineyards)
Sweet, full and spicy with vivid liqueur-like fruit. The palate has lots of rich fruit, some oak and lots of spiciness. Itís rich and new world-like in style with plenty of structure and ripeness. Very good+ 89/100 (£35 Waitrose)

Wines tasted 11/05
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