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Premium wines from Valdivieso, Chile

I recently revisited the wines of Valdivieso, which I've tasted before on a number of occasions but never written up properly. They make a large range, but this time I concentrated on just the premium wines.

It would be fair to say that these are easy wines to understand. With good concentration, no rough edges, and a sweetness to the fruit they are the vinous equivalent of a Hollywood romantic comedy, for simple-minded appreciation on a Friday night. Having said this, Valdivieso do what they do very competently. When Iím in the right mood for them, these are wines that Iíd enjoy drinking. 

I hope this doesnít sound elitist Ė in fact, it is no more elitist than suggesting that a movie starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal probably isnít going to be stretching the boundaries of the filmmakerís art. It doesnít mean you are not allowed to enjoy them, of course, and I recommend them to you for when you are in a 'new world' sort of mood.

UK agent Bibendum

Valdivieso Reserve Pinot Noir 2002
Quite a deep colour for a Pinot Noir. This displays ripe, sweet and quite dense red fruit character. Tasty, but If Iím going to be fussy this is a little too ripe and lacking real varietal character. Very good+ 86/100 (£7.95 Bacchanalia, Morrisons)

Valdivieso Reserve Shiraz 2002
Thereís a peppery, earthy edge to the berry fruit nose. Lush, concentrated ripe berry fruit with spicy structure and nice definition. This is a ripe wine very much in a new world style. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£7.95)

Valdivieso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (tank sample)
Very forward ripe blackcurrant fruit dominates here, with a spicy, chocolatey edge. Full and ripe. Very good+ 89/100 (£7.95 Sainsbury, Tesco)

Valdivieso Single Vineyard Merlot 2000
Very ripe nose of pure blackcurrant fruit. Lovely dense, ripe fruit on the palate showing good definition. Sweet and ripe but still quite elegant. Very good+ 89/100 (£10.75 Chris Piper, Magnum, Bin Two)

Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2001
Chunky ripe fruit with some tannic structure. I can just about discern a bit of leafy varietal character here. Rich and tasty. Very good+ 89/100 (£10.75 Wine World, Majestic)

Valdivieso Caballo Loco No. 6
Sixth release of this non-vintage Bordeaux blend. Ripe fruit with a spicy edge on the nose. The palate is quite dense with ripe spicy fruit and fine-grained tannic structure. Quite elegant. Warm, spicy and rounded. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£15.75 Tesco, Safeway) 

wines tasted February 2004

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