Dinner with Aurelio Montes

Yesterday evening was exceptional. Through the South World Wine Society and Whitehall Agencies, I and 55 other people sat down to dinner at Saltaire in West Vancouver and enjoy the wines from Aurelio Montes. Mr. Montes’ winery is the 4th largest winery in Chile. He bought to us:

Montes Leyda Sauvignon Blanc
Montes Classic Cabernet Sauvignon
Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Carmenere
Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon
Alpha Chardonnay
Alpha M cabernet sauvignon blend
Folly 100% Syrah
Purple Angel Carmenere Petit Verdot

The Alpha, Folly, and Purple Angel wines are all Premium wines from Montes. Aurelio is a tall imposing man, but when you talk to him, he is very nice and down to earth. He told us of his experience of starting the Montes winery and growing it to the point where he was able to open a winery in Argentina in 2002, and another winery in Napa Valley in 2006! All the Montes’ red wines have silky smooth tannins. Aurelio says it is because he likes to let their red grapes hang on the vine as long as possible. His Sauvignon Blanc was very much in the New World, New Zealand style. It had good acidity and a wonderful herbal nose (and paired very nicely with the chilled black tiger prawns with garlic aioli appetizer).

Our first course was a sweet curry creamed orzo which was paired with the Alpha Chardonnay. The Chardonnay comes from the Casablanca valley. It is oak fermented and aged in the barrel for one year. The lees (the dead yeast cells) are stirred in the barrel regularly to add a creamy texture/flavour to this wine. It had a wonderful pear and vanilla aroma. The creaminess of the wine and the full pear/apple/spice flavour paired nicely with the orzo.

The second course was a smoked black cod. It was paired with the Cabernet Carmenere blend and with the Alpha Cabernet blend. I thought the Alpha Cab with fuller body and firmer tannins held up well with the strong smoky flavour from the cod.

More to come for the third course and final course in my next blog.

You can visit the Montes website for more info.