Taste Chilean Wine Event 2010 in Vancouver

‘ve been a proud supporter of Chilean wines for many years. A year ago, I had an opportunity to go to Chile for my vacation, and visit many wineries in Aconcagua, Casablanca, Maipo, and Colchagua. Some of the wineries I was able to visit include Santa Rita, Casa Lapostolle, Montes, Montgras, and Casas del Bosque. The Chilean wineries I visited and winemakers I spoke with, take the health of their vines very seriously and try to use as much natural processes as possible. The climate is wonderful for grapes, and with the grapes growing on natural root stocks, you get a very true expression of the grape character.

Every September for many years, Wines of Chile, hold a tasting in Vancouver, and other cities across Canada. The Vancouver tasting is coming up soon, and the tickets are on sale. Below is the announcement from Wines of Chile, plus the link to purchase your tickets. Please come and try some wines from Supernatural Chile!  To find out about last year’s tasting you can click on my link to my Wines of Chile 2009 tasting blog.

Wines of Chile Consumer Event Details:

On Thursday, October 7, 2010, at 7:00pm a $39 ticket gives you the chance to mingle with Vancouver’s hottest wine lovers and Chilean wineries as they showcase their wines in Vancouver at Taste Chile 2010!

Meet visiting winemakers and taste wines from wine regions across Chile from more than 30 visiting wineries, each pouring up to six different wines at their table. Chilean style passed hors d’oeuvres will be provided to pair with the fabulous wines on offer. Educate yourself on Chilean wines while sampling additional wines at three focus stations. After tasting your way around the room, relax and enjoy the food and wine in our Santiago Lounge while taking in the sounds mixed by a local DJ.

Taste Chile 2010

W2 Storyeum – 151 West Cordova, Vancouver

Thursday, October 7th

7:00-9:30pm

Tickets $39

Charitable proceeds from the event will be donated to the Grapes for Humanity Canada.

For tickets and information, please visit www.winesofchile.ca.

Salud!

Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List for 2009

Today was an interesting and surprising day. I opened up the Top 100 list for 2009 from Wine Spectator, expecting to find a European wine as #1, but it was actually a wine from Washington State. Congratulations go to Columbia Crest and their Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Reserve 2005 (US$27).

Some other observations about the Top 100 list for 2009:
Numanthia-Termes Toro Termes 2005 (a Spanish Tempranillo) gets number 2 spot
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2007 gets number 3. This is the first European wine on this list, and it’s not Bordeaux. The Rhone Valley produces very good wines. I hope more people enjoy them.
– the first white wine shows up at number 9. Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc from the Russian River Valley 2007 (not a Chardonnay). Very interesting. Merry Edwards though, is a known premium producer.
No BC wine was listed. Hopefully next year!
– 16 of the top wines are from Italy. Lots of Brunello and Chianti.
– the first Chardonnay shows up at 21 and it’s not from Burgundy. Neyers Chardonnay Carneros 2007
– the first bubble shows up at 18 and it’s not from Champangne. Argyle Extended Tirage Willamette Valley 1999
– the first Chilean red shows up at 57 spot. Viña Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Medalla Real Special Reserve 2006 (one of the wineries I visited in October this year. One of my recommended wines.)

Well there are many other things I can glean from the Top 100 list for 2009, but I’d suggest that you get a copy of the list and see if there is anything interesting or surprising for you. Enjoy!

Chile Day 7 – Maipo Valley

Chile Day 7, Half way through my visit to Chile and the wineries I planned to visit. Today I visited 3 wineries spread across the Maipo Valley, south of Santiago. The first winery of the day was Santa Rita. I’ve met two of Santa Rita’s wine makers in the past through their visits to Vancouver, and now it is my turn to see the winery. Mr. Jose Ignacio Villalobo gave me a tour of their winery as well as pointing out the historical sites that are within the winery. One of the lines of wine is the “120” series. I’ll write about it when i’m back in Vancouver, but if you are interested, please check out Santa Rita’s website, www.santarita.cl. Mr. Villalobo had selected 5 wines for me to taste: 2 Sauvignon Blanc, 1 Carmenere, and 2 cabernet sauvignon. These wines were from their entry to to their premium levels. Although i can’t take you through all wines from all 3 wineries in this brief blog, i’ll point out a few wines. The Santa Rita Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008 had a mix of asparagus and citrus on the nose. Medium acidity, with more asparagus flavour as well as some herbaceousness and citrus. The wine had medium body and a bit of roundness. For a red, I’ll point out the Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2007. This one was deep garnet in colour, with cassis, back cherry and a hint of vanilla on the nose. Lots of black cherry flavour, with a bit of meatiness. The tannins were medium and allowed for a smooth mouthfeel. Nice.

 

The second winery of the day was Vina Undurraga. Their grounds and winery were beautiful, just like Santa Rita. I’d love to just spend a day at each on their grounds enjoying the sites. At Undurraga I met with a wine maker named Pilar. She led me through a tasting of 5 different wines; 2 whites, 2 reds, and 1 sparkling. I found out that Undurraga has a range of sparkling wines. Hopefully we will get them in BC sometime soon. A white from Undurraga was the Sibaris Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from the cool climate, Leyda Valley. This wine was light lemon in colour. It had a sweet and saliness to the nose with lemon and a herbal note. It was quite high in acidity making it quite refreshing. I tasted green fruit, herbaceousness and some lemon. it had a long length with a spicy finish. On the red wine side, I enjoyed the Sibaris Carmenere, 2008 from the Colchagua Valley. This wine spent 23 months barrel aging in French and American oak. It was deep purple in the glass with good legs. It had tarry, meaty, cassis ad a bit of capsicum aromas. On the palate there as tar, vanilla and black cherry. It was quite smooth in the mouth with a slight peppery and dark fruit finish.

The third winery of the day was from Vina Tarapaca ex Zavala. This winery was a bit out of the way but well worth it. It has 8 km of private road that leads you to the winery. You drive through their vineyards along the side of the valley overlooking I think the Maipo River. Once there, there is beautiful grounds, and a private airstrip! Mr. Edward Flaherty, winemaker, led me through the tastings of his wines. Edward is originally from California, but has been living in Chile for many years. A white wine I enjoyed was the La Isla Sauvignon Blanc 2009 from the Leyda Valley. This wine ha a herbal nose with some green pepper, some floweriness and some lime. It had a ice round mouthfeel which was balanced with medium acidity in the glass. Green pepper and herbal flavours, with a long length. For the reds, I enjoyed the Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from the Maipo Valley. This wine was deep garnet in colour. very aromatic. Tar, ripe black fruit and cassis aromas. On the palate, there was tar, cassis, and black cherry. The tannins were medium, leading to a dry, sweet ripe black fruit finish. Very tasty.

That is all from the Maipo Valley. I’ll provide full tasting notes for all the wines once i’m back in Vancouver. The next valley for me to visit is the Colchagua Valley. Saludos!

Muy Gusto Wines of Chile

Today I enjoyed the wines from more than 3o Chilean wineries at the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver. There was a range of red and white wines from the northern region of Limari down to the south in Bio Bio. There was Chile’s signature grape, Carmenere at many of the agents tables, but also a wide variety of other varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted red grape, followed by Merlot, then Carmenere. For the whites, Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted white grape followed by Chardonnay then Moscatel of Alexandria. One interesting varietal that I tried today was a Sauvignon Gris from Cousino Macul. I was told that this is the only Sauvignon Gris being offered in BC. This grape is a “lost” Bordeaux varietal that was brought to Chile before phylloxera infected the vines in France. This wine I believe was sur lie, as I detected some lees as well as lemon on the nose. It was a light bodied wine, with light acidity and peach flavour.

So what were some of the highlight wines that I tasted (I didn’t taste all the wines at the event, so i’m sure there are some excellent ones that I didn’t get to try)?

Vinedos Emiliana Eco Bio Bio Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($12.95). I like this wine as it is organic and a great price. Who says organic has to be expensive? This wine had asparagus aroma. Good acidity with citrus and apple flavours. A New World Style Sauv Blanc.

Montgras Ninquen. This is a blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine comes from the Ninquen hill in the Colchagua Valley. This wine was deep purple in colour. Cassis and cherry on the nose. Cassis, dark fruit and black cherry flavours. It is very full bodied and has a spiciness that builds in your mouth as you savour it’s flavours.

Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($19.95). This wine has a nice cassis nose. It is quite round in your mouth and has ripe red cherry flavour, and a dry finish.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet 2007 ($19.99) . This wine is medium garnet in the glass. Cassis, red cherry, and sweet red fruit aromas. Ripe cherry and black fruit flavours. This wine is very full bodied and has nice soft tannins. Outstanding value and quality.

That is all for now. There is alot of southern hemisphere wine events happening this week. On Thursday I’ll be at the Wines of Argentina event, with more wines to blog about. Salut!

Santa Rita Winery event at Boneta

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} catch(err) {}Last night was a lot of fun. I was invited to meet a new winemaker from Vina Santa Rita winery, Mr. Carlos Gatica Llop, retry their range of wines, and enjoy some food from Boneta Restaurant. Carlos is a very friendly guy, who has worked in France and Spain, before working for Santa Rita in Chile. He has his feet in both the Old and New Worlds.

For those that are not familar with Vina Santa Rita, it was founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez Concha. The winery currently owns vineyards in the Maipo, Casablanca, Rapel, Leyda, Lontue and Limari valleys. They own the 2nd largest vineyard area in Chile.

I was fortunate enough many years ago to meet Santa Rita’s senior wine maker, Mr. Andres Ilabaca, during a South World Wine Society wine maker dinner at the Seasons in the Park Restaurant in Queen Elizabeth Park. Now I have met Mr. Carlos Gatica Llop, their newest wine maker. I couldn’t get Carlos to pick a favourite wine from Santa Rita. To him it is like choosing your favorite child. All your children are your favorite. But I can pick a few of my favorites!

The Medalla Real Single Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 ($20.99) was wonderful. Opaque purple in the glass. Capscium and black fruit on the nose. Black fruit, licorice, and a bit of spice flavour. Smooth.

The Floresta Apalta Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($55.99) was also an excellent wine. It is from 100 year old vines. Earthy, rich nose. Black fruit and black cherry flavours. Medium/fine tannins.

Other wines that are worth a buy are:
Pehuen 2005 ($55.99) a premium wine made with 85% carmenere and 15% cabernet sauvignon.
Floresta Petite Sirah / Sirah 2003 and 2005 vintages are around in BC ($32.49). Lots of black fruit and licorice.
120 Sauvignon Blanc ($11.99) A really inexpensive sauvignon blanc with LOTS of flavour.

Boneta served a variety of salads, gnocci, sausages with chicken and white beans. All were delicious and paired nicely with the wines I tried. For more info about Boneta click here.