(2016) 90% Carmenere, 7% petit Verdot, 3% Syrah. 22 months in French oak, 60% new. Dark, glossy but quite closed. There’s a little touch of balsamic and green herb, a vinous black fruit. Rich fruitcake palate, lots of freshness and savoury, umami meatiness and the dark plum fruit. Plenty of grip and edge to this, high acid and plenty of spark. Tastes too young, so decant if drinking now. This vintage not in UK at time of writing.
(2016) Eduardo travelled to the Rhone and loved the wines, so imported vines from the Rhone in 1993. 22 months in French oak, 50% new. The oak has been dropped back and the addition of some Aconcagua Costa fruit is aimed at making a fresher style. Fruit mostly planted as in Hermitage, 1 x 1 metre on a single post. A touch of bloodiness, excellent freshness, spices and a solid red and black fruit character. Really very juicy, a bitter orange quality to the acidity, plenty of grip again, the tannins rounded but firm and juicy, a tart edge to the cherry and plum fruit. Not in UK at present, but previous vintages around £30 per bottle.
(2016) 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 16 months in French oak, no new oak, and large barrels. Obvious aged aromas, but has a real perfume and good juicy black fruit. A touch of balsamic. Very nice palate, the balance is excellent in a slightly rustic style, so much like a good older Cru Bourgeois perhaps, missing a touch of complexity and weight, but still a lovely wine.
(2016) 100% Cabenert Sauvignon. 20 months in French oak, all new. “Chile was changing, and this was a warm vintage,” says Francisco. Such a different wine, with masses of mulberry fruit and eucalyptus, more alcohol, oak also, and just bigger in every sense. The palate has loads of plush fruit too, but still a nice edge of acidity and tight tannins, even though it is almost more like a classic big Australian red.
(2016) Francisco’s second vintage in charge. Cabernet Sauvignon with 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Syrah. 18 months in new French oak. Masses of cassis and mint, dark mint chocolate and obvious plushness and weight. Still some fine graphite touches, but has a plump and solid fullness. The palate is weighted with fruit, no problem with the juiciness and freshness through that plum and cherry skin roughening edge of tannin and acid, but a wine in the big, showy style, undoubtedly very impressive.
(2016) 79% Caberent Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 6% Carmenere, 5% Petit Verdot. 22 months in French oak, 65% new. The lowering of the oak is the obvious step change here again. Lovely sandalwood notes are fragrant, more pot-pourri edges to the oak, lovely fresh fruit too – a little closed in this young wine, but has such lovely balance, such an agile, fresh palate with plenty of fruit but that intrinsic energy, more balsamic, delightful and balanced stuff.
to return to Chile 2016 – Earth and Elegance
Errazuriz, Aconcagua Costa
Errazuriz’s wines are imported into the UK by Hatch-Mansfield. This tasting included the wines of Viña Arboleda, an Errazuriz brand which shares their Aconcagua Costa location.
(2016) Fermented in older barrels, 80% malolactic. Low yields and natural high acid in this year. The nose has a toasty hint of oak, a creamy slightly custardy richness with the palate showing very crisp melon and citrus. Plenty of acidity and saltiness, a dry apple core quality.
(2016) Quite a tropical nose, touches of lychee and exotic fruit, but the greener aspects come through, with a little bit of oily green bean. The palate is very dry, with again the saltiness and freshness, and it has texture and a bit of grip and real acid bite.
(2016) Fermented in stainless steel, aged in barrel. Very nice rhubarb and vegetal nose, beetrooty, cherry notes, but the quality of fragrant oak and subtle herbs and flowers makes it very attractive. Minty and intense notes too in quite a complex nose. The palate has lovely juiciness and energy, with a fairly high acid and that characterisc salt, but has plenty of juicy cherry fresh fruit.
(2016) 5% Petit Verdot in the blend. Very young, this one comes from more westerly vineyard, closer to the coast, with a subtle spiciness and green character, not at all thiol-like, the 35% new oak adding a dusty, creamy quality. The mouthfeel is lovely, a firm edge but also some chocolate and glossy violet-like tones, with dusty tannins and a lovely sweet fruit.
(2016) A little Cabernet Franc and Syrah in the blend. Has a glossy forward fruitiness, cassis and sweet black cherry, with again some lift of floral and blueberry. Creaminess of texture, and that similar family trait of dry palate and a bit of tannic grip, that dustiness again.
(2016) 10% new oak. Lovely sweet fruited nose, a deep and glossy wine, but has the freshness of red fruit and balsamic, slightly medicinal note that is attractive, with some herbal notes but spicy black fruits drive it. Just a little rounding and smoothing vanilla from that touch of oak, but a lean, grippy tannin and acid structure.
(2016) Very little new oak, but 10 months in barrel. Low pH. Has toasted oatmeal richness, with wheaty touches, a little honey and the fruit subtle and apple and citrus but really attractive. The palate has delicious fruit ripeness and sweet mid-palate fruit, but finishes with lovely clarity, just a hint of the saltiness.
(2016) More of the vivacious, slightly greener, soft herby side than the Arboleda SB, with some gooseberry and elderflower, but also a lovely soft tropical fruit, some pear and apple, but finsihess with lovely zest and dryness. Very well done, dry and balanced with juicy grapefruit acidity. 89
(2016) Only native yeasts. Nice medium colour and density, a creamy nose, with subtle smokiness and chestnut character, and a meatiness to this, lighter floral nuances too are quite complex. Quite truffly, but good red fruit too. The palate has a subtle red and black fruit dryness, with a juicy personality, really quite dry, both the acidity and the silky tannins, that chestnut dryness.
(2016) No new oak, aged in older barrels for 14 months. For me a little closed at this stage, a dark wine with tight black fruit, but not hugely aromatic, just a touch of bacon fat perhaps, a touch of garrique herbs come through. The palate has a really nice, smooth palate flooded with creamy red fruits, such plushness to the tannins, but very nicely balanced between that creaminess and the light dustiness, and good acidity.
(2016) Picked end February, 20% new oak, but not showing it. Clear saltiness to this, with flint on the nose and touches of leafy herbs and flowers, dry and subtle, a little oatameal, but restrained and mineral above all. There is a Chablis-like complex sulphide character, the palate has a cool lemon and mineral complexity and shimmering length. Should be around £40.
(2016) 20% whole cluster, wild yeasts and a little more new oak than in the Pizzaras Chardonnay. Subtle earth and iron oxide character, but less bloody than the Arbolada Pinot. Quite tight, with a real finesse, the juiciness of the cherry and herb freshness, and a touch of polished wood, with balsamic notes, but ebony tight and polished, smooth tannins. Delicious. This will retail for around £70.
to return to Chile 2016 – Earth and Elegance
Seña’s wines are imported into the UK by Hatch-Mansfield
(2016) 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Carmenere. This was before Seña had its own vineyard, so was a selection of Errazuriz fruit. Showing plenty of age with a broad tobacco rim. Big bloody and animal nose, real Margaux-like perfume with floral notes and iron oxide minerality. The palate has lovely firmness at its core, a juicy orange cut of acidity, and that bloody ripe fruit character. Some fudge And mushrooms truffle notes and great length. A very convincing Bordeaux blend that has aged beautifully.
(2016) 54% Caberenet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 16% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, aged in new French oak for 22 months. Lovely softening rim, the colour just a touch pink on the rim. Very attractive nose. There is a pronounced oak influence, quite fragrant but with smoky vanilla, cedar, very good fruit, cassis and depth. Not too big, tempered by savoury orange acidity and fine but grippy tannins, a chewy density, some umami richness and savouriness. Long and well balanced, perhaps a smidgeon too much oak apparent.
(2016) 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenere, 15% merlot, 7% petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc. 22 months in barrel, 75% new. Slightly higher, with a little elegant volatile note, graphite and pencil-shavings, the fruit just a little more lifted – slightly cooler, slightly less new oak? It is juicier and really fresh, a tarty cherry sourness adding to the sweet mid palate fruit to give this balance and polish. Long and really a terrific wine.
(2016) 58% Caberent Sauvignon, 15% Carmenrere, 12% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. 22 months in French oak, 75% new. Such a bold, solid colour. A little less developed obviously, a little tighter, but a similar overall character to the 2011, with that little graphite and floral lift and the very compact, quite muscular dense fruit concentration. Lots of sweetness on the mid palate, a really juicy but luscious black fruit confiture, the tangy acid edge and bittersweetness of cherry and plum skins coming through, finishing with a touch of spice and the juicy fruit, the oak so subtley underpinning. Note price is ex-duty and VAT.
to return to Chile 2016 – Earth and Elegance
Viñedo Chadwick’s wines are imported into the UK by Hatch-Mansfield
(2016) The wine that 'won' The Judgement of Berlin. 100% Cabernet from a cool year but a very good growing season. Lovely umami character, rare roast beef and a gently bloodiness and spice. There's espresso and dark aromas married to such a big, blood streaked palate of ripe and sweet fruit, lots of chocolate and earthy ripeness, and then a fine twist of bittersweetness, a touch of liquorice, in a fine, long and tapering fine finish.
(2016) A warm year, though the vineyard is in a cool spot so never too hot with more continental climate. A big seductive nose, laden with cassis and plum, a chocolate and spice laden nose but such a depth of fruit. Excellent palate, with a huge depth and plenty of polished oak, but a seductive and velvety style.
(2016) A very cool vintage. Seems to have much less oak than the 2009, but also a different fruit profile with cedar and raspberry as well as the cassis. The palate is balanced and elegant, so much more acidity and acid edge to cut against the spicy black fruit. Elegant and very promising.
to return to Chile 2016 – Earth and Elegance
Viña Santa Rita
Viña Santa Rita is imported into the UK by Berkmann Wine Cellars
(2016) A fair amount of quality oak, with a nice bacon fat and meatiness that is very expressive. The palate has a smooth ripeness of black fruit, with dry tannins, meaty again, finishes with medium length. The oak perhaps just a little too dominant over the Syrah aromatics.
(2016) Quite shy aromatically, with tight, quite sinewy black fruit and tight tannins and acidity, this has real grip and is a serious Carmenere, perhaps a touch drier and less fruity than it could be, but has the umami meatiness and a good core of fruit
(2016) Pleasing bloody touches to the black fruit and the earthy meaty qualities again, I like the structure and the solid tannins which are grippy but fine. The fruit stays quite substantial and has the nice blend of sweetness and grippy, meaty structure. 2011 currently showing on Majestic's website.
(2016) Quite meaty, with rich black fruit, a spiciness and graphite and cedar nuances. Very tight, deep and glossy, muscular but also refined, a svelte black fruit creaminess and a lovely liquorice depth. Such lovely sweet fruit but excellent structure to age.
(2016) Less meaty, more lifted and lightly floral compared to the 2012, really ripe and intense, a great core of acidity and tannin to this. There's ripeness almost an agen prune juicy darkness. This has the juicy sweet intensity, even if I slightly prefer the 2012.
(2016) Meaty and balsamic on the nose, a touch of classic green nuance to the Cab fruit, but such a flood of super sweet deep black fruit. Great creamy sweetness and utterly delicious, arguably more obvious than the 2010, but yummy.
(2016) Bloody iron oxide, meaty and has cedar and graphite notes, moving through to a massively sweet palate, layered with chocolate and mint-touched cassis fruit. Still has real juiciness, and a lovely Bordeaux-style refinement.
(2016) A blend of 65% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Carmenere first made in 1997. A delightful graphite and cedar quality to this, again a bit of meaty and bloody concentration, and the oak adding a dark, rich gloss a touch of background mint. The palate has a real juicy edge to the deep, meaty fruit. I cannot see a UK stockist at time of writing, but RRP is £24.99
(2016) This unusual 'icon' Petite Sirah comes from an old pergola vineyard of table grapes, grafted to Petite Sirah. It has a fabulous nose, the lift and kirsch-like aromatics, lots of cassis and coffee, obviously plenty of oak, but the prettiness of the fruit comes through. The palate has huge smoothness, with massive grippy tannins, and loads of black fleshy fruit. Delicious and massive, but it is a really impressive wine. Note stockist quoted is for the 2010 vintage at time of writing.
to return to Chile 2016 – Going Underground
Viña Carmen is imported into the UK by Hallgarten Druitt
(2016) Subtle orange and grapefruit, just gentle herbaceous background. The palate has the same with such a rush of fresh grapefruit, clear acidity and a touch of mineral salts. Not hugely complex, but attractive. I cannot see this listed by Majestic at time of writing, but am assured they will carry it.
(2016) From Casablanca. I was told this is in independents at around £8.99, but wine-searcher shows no listings at time of writing. Lemony with a bit of spangle sweetie brightness, a little more palate weight. A touch more tropical, but finishes with that bright lemon sherbet zestiness.
(2016) Made with 5% whole bunches there's a nice hint of spices and earthiness, those little touches of truffle, big juicy palate of bright cherry fruit. Full fruited on the palate, dry tannins to acid some grip and lemony acids. In Ireland and US, but not UK at time of writing.
(2016) 50% wild ferment and a few months lees ageing. More capsicum and green bean oiliness and punch. More concentration, with hints of nectarine and papaya, then a big core of very juicy apple and lemon acidity. Deliciously focused and textural.
(2016) Bright green and youthful colour, fruit from Casablanca. 45% fermented in new and 1 year old barrels. Figgy and rich, with big tropical fruit notes but also an oiliness and richness of toast and buttered muffins. Leesy and rich, but the lemon and lime vibrancy and freshness comes through nicely.
(2016) Oak is one third each of new, 2nd and 3rd use barrela. Juicy and lightly minty, with some chocolate and earthy creamy notes. It has pretty big tannins, chewy and dense, a spicy and balanced finish.
(2016) A lot of mint here, that Sebastian thinks is partly due to their huge diurnal shift that means overnight the plants cannot assimilate the heat and ripening of the day, so ripening is slightly delayed and can produce the cedar/minty notes. All French oak, this is made approximately 3 or 4 times per decade. Along with the mint is cool, smooth cassis and onto the palate cedar and a gentle creaminess. There's a meatiness too, and the tannins are smoothed with a creamy density and great balance, the wine is young and needs a little time.
(2016) Creamy and dense, with delicious black fruit and graphite, cedar and a lovely meaty density. Beautifully sweet fruit, a fruitcakey density and lovely tannin structure. Really a delicious Merlot, with great richness and weight.
(2016) Quite high and a little fresh green aroma, wintergreen, with cardomon and liquorice, an ashy quality, highly aromatic. With a silkiness and bold cherry and cassis sweet fruit. Dry tannins and a juicy freshness.
(2016) Quite reductive, lots of smoke and reduced aromas. After a lot of swirling, a tight black fruit character and a touch of olive and briar, with nice tight fruit, quite creamy tannin, and good length again keeping some good freshness.
(2016) Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Quite plush, with a little bacon fat richness, deep fleshy plum fruit and some chocolate. The palate is flooded with plushness and sweet fleshy fruit, and there is coffee and some toast and tobacco warmth, the creaminess of the tannins and sweet fruit against the tart edge of plum skins.
(2016) A blend of 45% Carignan, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Malbec, 6% Carmenere. Deep and plush with lots of sweet creaminess, a little ‘heavier’ than the 2014, but shows how the wine comes together very nicely over a couple of years.
(2016) A touch reductive, with a smokiness and a little blueberry lift and becomes very juicy and ripe and sweet, with delicious plushness. Long and berry fruited, with a lot of chocolaty tannins smoothness and sweet finish. The 2012 vintage is in stock at time of writing.
(2016) Lovely raspberry lift to this, a real sense of elegant freshness fom the first sniff, with little spice and tobacco touches, and some fudge notes, and still that fine red fruit freshness. The palate has that lovely nut husk hint of dryness, but such delightful wine.
(2016) A blend of Syrah 52%, Carignan 27%, Malbec 21%. Big, plush and plummy nose, through the mask of a little recent bottling reduction. Quite lifted too, some floral and violetty notes again. Rich and chocolaty palate, that bit of drying tannin grip, but lovely and finishes fruit dry and spice. It is not in UK at time of writing, but would retail around £30.
(2016) Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Malbec and Syrah, this has that touch of mint and menthol to the cassis, quite stongly dominated by the Cabernet, the palate so smooth, so minty, with really plush and seductive tannins, it has a fine sandy tannin quality, good acidity and a lovely framework, a structure that the sweet fruit drapes over beautifully.
to return to Chile 2016 – Going Underground
Volcanes de Chile
Volcanes de Chile is imported into the UK by Stone, Vine & Sun
(2016) From Leyda, a pungent, flinty and elderflower nose, but 10% ageing in barrels also gives a soft creamy note, a hint of oatmeal and then those leafy tones as well as ripe, peachy, orangy fruit. The palate has a rich mouthfeel, but there’s a tropical nectarine and pineapple quality to the fruit, real richness and a certain fat and texture, all that sweetness playing against fresh, lightly salty minerality from granitic and calcareous soils.
(2016) From Bio Bio and volcanic soils known in Chile as Trumao – red clay. From a foggy spot. Very nice Pinot nose, with a lovely truffle and mushroom character, a certain smokiness, a beetrooty note and delicious ripe plum fruit. Silky palate, so much sweet fruit, sappy, earthy, lovely subtle spice. Long too. A great Chilean pinot, with velvety tannins.
(2016) Maipo fruit. Colluvial material from the volcanos. A minty, eucalypt nose, with a touch of smokiness and good black fruit, dark berries. The palate has a great juicy concentration of cassis, with a tart plum and cherry skin acidity, and again the tannins are ripe and creamy-smooth. The structure is there, but it’s a tight framework of tannins and acids draped by that sweet black fruit and creamy oak.
(2016) A blend of 43% Grenache, 38% Petite Sirah, 17% Mourvedre. A really tight, glossy black fruit nose, some softer red berry notes adding brightness, a touch of nutty and smoky character, but the creamy and glossy sweet fruit dominates. The palate is filled with rich, thick black fruit, like biting into the flesh of a ripe black plum, that little bite of acidity and tannin from the skins, but the sweet-fleshed generosity is gorgeous.
(2016) Maule fruit, 15 months in oak. 70% Syrah and 30% Carignan from dry farmed vineyards. Named after a volcano on the border with Bolivia, which has the highest lake in Chile that is home to colonies of flamingos. A touch closed, but a deep and meaty fruit richness comes through with swirling, and a full, dry extract weight of fruit, quite dry and grippy, but with delicious fruitcake and prune ripeness.
(2016) Captures the floral violet aspect of Malbec, loads of plummy, black fruit too. The palate has lovely structure, a tiny note of espresso, but great fruit richness and depth, creamy tannins. A lovely Malbec (with a tiny drop of Syrah). Price is for 2012, the vintage in the UK at time of writing.
(2016) A very smart French oak, polished quality to this Bordeaux blend, with plenty of fragrance and a little lifted, spice and floral note atop deep black fruit. Very spicy on the palate, wth a little less out and out charm than the Tributo arguably, but it is impressively intense in the finish, real meaty grip and concentration.
(2016) Has a touch of olive and balsamic quality, another rich and full wine,with plenty of structure and mouth-filling tannin, drying and meaty, a big, powerful wine, plenty of oak, stuffing and power. Price quoted is for the 2013 vintage.
(2016) Rich honey and nutty character, a big generous wine compared to the Sauvignons in some ways, with a bow towards peachy ripeness, but once again that rush of austere acidity, with the ultra dry palate and some tingling juicy freshness.
(2016) Solid and sweet cassis and black plum, licked with chocolate and smoky spice, but seriously sweet and ripe fruit, with a richness and gloss, though the chocolate smoothness of the tannins makes it very svelte and creamy. Good structure in a classic style, and very well done. 2013 not in UK at time of writing, so price quoted is for 2012.
(2016) Delightful Riesling nose with gentle waxiness and saltiness in the baclground and a lovely sour apple and lemon fruit. Intensely dry with a chalky mineral acidity, very refreshing with lots of pithy lemon acidity. Price quoted is for the 2012 vintage - 2013 not in UK at time of writing.
(2016) A soft edge to the colour and touches of beetrooty character though majoring on ripe fruit and a certain swirling smokiness. Juicy palte, the ripeness of the plummy fruit with a little chestnut. Quite a powerful Pinot, but not without finesse.
(2016) Huge perfume here, lots of smoky bacon and floral lift comnbining to give aromatic fireworks. Lovely palate with black fruits and some sweet smoky oak, but it is the gaminess and earthiness that comes through in a very northern Rhone style. Price quoted is for the 2012 vintage
(2016) Adds a little more fragrance than the Leyda Brisas, a little more soft and briary quality, soft earthiness. There’s a nice orangy freshness to this, and it is bone dry again, with good acidity and a tart cherry freshness. Price for the 2013 vintage.
(2016) From 1600 meteres. Richness and a violet and glossy blue/black quality. The palate has a meatier quality than the Caliterra, a roughening tannin that adds grip, and a tingling spicy character. Excellent.
(2016) Lift and fragrance here, an exotic spice and Sandalwood touch, the fruit bright, touching on minitness, but with a really solid tannin framework. The palate becomes really quite grippy, the tannins sandy and refined, but the sweet fruit in the background, swirling smokiness and an elegant tart cherry edge to the acidity. Price quoted for 2013 vintage - 2014 not in UK at time of writing.