Beso Negro el Decadente: a serious red blend from Chile

This wine is the result of a collaboration between winemaker Grant Phelps, and husband and wife team Tunku Soraya Dakhlah and Sharif Majid, who farm the vines and also get stuck in with the winemaking from harvest to labelling. It’s made from organically farmed vines in a small enclave called Santa Ana, in Colchagua.

Santa Ana, which is a small enclave, has a number of small farms with a very cosmopolitan group of owners: Brazilian, English, Spanish, American, Bolivian, Chilean, and of course also Malaysian. These folk produce everything artisinally, working the vines by hand. The wines are also made on a small scale. Tunku and Sharif have 4 hectares of vines: Petit Verdot, Carmenere, Petite Sirah and Grenache.

This wine is blend of 63% Carmènere, 28% Petit Verdot and 9% Petite Syrah. The wine is bottled unfiltered, after spending 22 months in French oak (two-thirds new).

I met Tunku and Sharif in Malaysia last year, connected through a mutual friend. She’s actually a Malaysian princess! But despite the royal connection, they are both really fun. So it was great to finally get a chance to try the wine, which is quite rich but beautifully defined.

Beso Negro El Decadente 2015 Colchagua Valley, Chile
14.5% alcohol. Beso Negro translates as ‘black kiss’. This is a deeply coloured, concentrated wine with rich flavours of blackcurrant, blackberry and cherry. It’s quite ripe, but well balanced, with a lovely grainy tannic structure and beautiful perfume and spice. And under the silky, liqueur-like fruit, there’s a chalky sort of character that I get with Cabernet Franc and also Carmenère. This is a really interesting expression of the place: it captures the warmth of the climate, but it’s quite a serious wine, with texture, concentration and structure. It should age pretty well, I reckon. 93/100

4 comments to Beso Negro el Decadente: a serious red blend from Chile

  • Paul Dove

    Embarrassing name and creepy label. Seriously offputting and almost as naff as the grimly sexist ‘Nicola Vutchi Vini Vidi Vinci’ label from your 26th June blog. Who designs these labels, someone from Trump Towers? Obviously trying to appeal to sad middle aged men – hope this trend doesn’t catch on.

  • Pat Neville

    I strongly agree with Mr Dove. Ridiculous name, ridiculous label. If a wine is the sum of its parts how can anyone take this wine (or the princess story) seriously – except some sad middle aged men.

  • Yes the label is crap and so out of tune with the the times. Can’t imagine this selling over here (Spain) or in conservative Chile.

    As for the wine itself, interested to read about the ripeness and new oak. Has “peak natural” passed? It certainly sounds pretty chunky. I’m yet to be convinced by 100% Carménères but sounds like this blend helps this grape to shine.

  • Mike Donaldson

    Had this wine while visiting Valpariso. Label is beautiful, and I’m confused as to why anybody would be embarrassed by it. When can we in the wine world stop taking ourselves so serious?! Outside of the level of passion and commitment put into making the wines, we should be enjoying our time drinking with friends. The wine itself is beautifully structured, bold, and nuanced at the same time. Grant Phelps did a phenomenal job creating this masterpiece.

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