Monday, July 6, 2020
Two Winners from Wines Direct Mystery Case!
Treated myself to a 12-bottle Mystery Case from Wines Direct a couple of months back and it worked out very well indeed. The two below are each highly recommended. No big surprise I suppose that the Carmenere went down well but delighted that the German Pinot Blanc exceeded expectations.
Korta Gran Reserva Carmenere Lontue Valley Chile 2017, 14%, Wines Direct
Colour’s a deep ruby. Big fruity nose. Soft and easy-drinking, good balance of fruit and acidity, hints of the oak, still a little tannic grip, but an excellent mouthful and soft and persistent finish as well. Highly Recommended. Pair with Pork and Poultry, Hearty Roots, Game, Beef and Lamb.
Winemaker is Irene Paiva: “When I started making wine, there were very few women working in the business.” Nowadays, some 35% of the oenologists and enology students in Chile are women. Today Irene is often listed as one of the most influential business leaders in Chile. And she is also a founding member of MOVI (an association of independent winemakers, usually artisans and working on a small scale).
Carmenere? Is that a Chilean grape? You may well ask. The answer is yes, now. But it did start in Bordeaux and was more or less lost in the tangled vines of history, even mistaken for Merlot for one long period and, indeed, it was as late as 1994 that this “Merlot” was properly re-identified as Carmenere. It is very much at home in Chile, enjoying the high levels of sunshine and the warm summer, as you can see and taste with this bottle..
You don’t hear of the Lontue Valley that often. It is a region of the Curico Valley, about 200km south of Santiago and, according to Santa Rita, “some of Chile’s best white grapes are grown here”. Some good red ones too, it appears!
Bender Weissburgunder Mosel 2018, 13%, €18.25 Wines Direct
Light gold colour, lots of little bubbles clinging to the glass. Pleasantly aromatic (not assertively so), blossom and white fruit. Silky smooth on the palate, beautiful high acidity to match the assertive fruit as it washes across the surprised taste buds. Very engaging indeed and Highly Recommended.
This Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) is produced from 30-year-old vines harvested on steep slopes with slate soils. It is partly barrique aged. Importers Wines Direct recommend pairing with: Spicy Food, Pork and Poultry, Light Fish and Shellfish, Fresh Greens. Serve at 9-10 degrees.
Have you ever tried an English Pinot Blanc? Me neither but there are apparently good examples in Kent and Sussex. While the grape is well connected (Pinot Noir among its close relatives), it is “one of the wine world’s genuine Cinderellas”, according to Grapes & Wines. But they do appreciate it in the Alsace and Germany. And it is, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, one of the constituent grapes of Italy’s Franciacorta, an excellent sparkling wine from Lombardy.
“With my wines, I want to appeal not only to connoisseurs, but above all to young and urban audiences.” Reckon with wines of this quality, he’ll draw some of the older drinkers as well!
Monday, April 30, 2018
|Bernardo (via Wikipedia)
Two to Note from Chile's Cachapoal Valley. And an Irish connection.
Clos des Fous and Chateau Los Boldos are two of the leading producers in the Rapel Valley, south of Santiago in Chile. The area, with its dry warm climate, is regarded as ideal for growing Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon.The Rapel has two main valleys, the Cachapoal and the better known Colchaqua.
Cachapoal Province is one of three provinces of the central Chilean region of Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins Region. Bernardo (left), who played a leading role in the liberation fight, became the first Head of State of Chile in 1818. And yes, there was of course an Irish background. The O'Higgins family lost their lands under the English Crown in the 17th century and left to exile in Spain from where some of them made their way to Chile.
Chateau Los Boldos “Tradition Réserve” Carmenere 2016, Cachapoal (Chile), 13.5%, €15.99 JJ O’Driscoll’s, Wines Online
Los Boldos grow all their own fruit, in vineyards that benefit from a Mediterranean climate, so control everything from grape to bottle. Sixty per cent spends six months in French and American oak “to soften tannins and add complexity”.
Quite a deep red. There are rich cherry aromas, a promise of good things to come. And come they do on the palate, delicious sweet fruit flavours and spice, a lush mouthfeel thanks to its rounded texture. Very appealing overall and Very Highly Recommended. Well priced also.
By the way, Los Boldos also do other single varietals in the “Tradition Réserve” series including Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Worth seeking out, I reckon. The emphasis in this French pioneered now Portuguese owned winery is on higher-end wines from their old vines. Its signature wines are the Grand Cru.
Clos des Fous Chardonnay, Locura 1 Terroir de los Andes Chile 2015, 14%, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll Cork, Wine Online
Quite a mission statement from Cussen, Leyton, Massoc and Parra, the quartet behind this wine: “This is an unique and groundbreaking project based on a delicate and novel terroir selection. Following the Burgundy philosophy, our focus is to achieve wines with minimal intervention letting the terroir express itself.”
A few details on the wine itself. Colour is a very light straw. Fairly intense aromas (white fruits), legs slow. Excellent buttery mouthfeel, rich and full in the mouth, long and satisfying mineral finish. The four seem to have indeed followed the Burgundian way here, seem to have succeeded and the verdict is Very Highly Recommended.
This unoaked Chardonnay is listed as one of the top ten chardonnay in South America by Wines of South America. They also call Pedro Parra, one of the four owners, a “terroir whisperer”.
Their terroir approach plus their organic fruit and minimalist techniques are lauded, “no safety nets” such as fining or filtering. The wines, including this one, have many admirers, among them Jancis Robinson here.
Wondering about the name of the wine? Clos des Fous means enclosure of the madmen while Locura also hints at a crazy condition. Enjoy!