(2021) The most expensive wine of the tasting at £100 per bottle, this is a Bordeaux blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 14% Carmenere and a touch of Merlot. It comes from an ambitious young estate started just over a decade ago by Alex and Carrie Vik. The wine spends 23 months in a new French oak barrels. Winemaker Cristian Vallejo explains the estate has followed a quality path since day one, with very dense plantings of varieties researched to suit each of the 12 valleys spanned by their estate. They are even planning to use barrels from their own oak forest, and amphorae made from clay found on the estate. Great creamy depth here, a little hint of olive and then dry, savoury black fruit, some tobbaco and more exotic spices, but mostly about the fruit. In the mouth truly sumptuous, with great fruit sweetness and creaminess across the mid-palate, concentrated, but with lovely cherry-fresh juiciness, creamy tannins too, but the oak just caressing and supporting rather than dominating the picture. Very impressive.
(2020) Though Tabali's home turf is the Limarí Valley, on the edge of the Atacama desert, this comes from further south in the coastal Cachapoal region. It is 100% Carmenere, matured for one year in French oak barrels. Dense and almost black in colour, the nose has just a touch of the herbal and tobacco leaf character typical of the variety, and an obvious depth of black fruit. On the palate it is firm and juicy, a deal of cherry-ripe acidity and smooth, fine tanning supporting the weight of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. It stops short of being chewy in character thanks to a glimpse of red fruit amongst the black and its agile acid and tannin profile, in a satisfying wine of very good quality. Watch the video
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(2010) This budget-busting wine from Santa Carolina comes in an absolutely enormous bottle that could easily be mistaken for a magnum. It is made from 100% Carmenère from Puemo in the Cachapoal Valley. It is interesting to note just how focused on Carmenère Chile's top red wines are, either as varietals or playing a large part in the blend. That certainly sets Carmenère apart from other 'flagship' varieties like Zinfandel in the US or Pinotage in South Africa: the Chileans are serious about Carmenère not only as their 'own' signature grape, but as the one that will make their greatest wines. Herencia has a sensational nose, wreathed in woodsmoke and graphite minerality, with cedarwood and refined, elegantly spiced black fruit and little glimpses of more delicate. more floral aromatics. On the palate this has, rather like the 'Specialities' Carignan, a terrific tension between the sweet, dense and ultimately fleshy blue-black fruit and a genuine sense of finesse and precision. That mineral, almost ashy quality comes through again, giving this a peppery, dry, but beautifully harmonious finish. Whether or not the UK will bite on the prospect of a £100 Chilean wine - even one as good as this - remains to be seen, but it is terrific stuff. £100.00, Percy Fox.
(2010) A more meaty character, with a touch of coffee and just a little touch of black olive, savoury character. It has a dry, savoury character, with plenty of firmness and a nicely grippy finish. Structured and food-friendly.
(2010) A single vineyard wine. Rich, balsamic character, with lots of smoky, meaty notes. Lovely mouth-filling texture and fruit sweetness to set against slightly austere, dusty tannins. Structured and quite complex this and should develop. This wine in available through the restaurant trade in the UK.
(2009) >From low-yielding vineyards planted in 1999, that yield 8,000 hl/ha in Rapel, alto Cachapoal. This is a very good yield for retaining balance and finesse without becoming too big and concentrated. Very fine, with a bit of sous-bois, but plenty of almost minty black fruit. A nice touch of cedar too. Lovely spicy, mouth-filling structure. Gonzalo does very little pumping over, as this vineyard gives lots of tannin. Nice savoury structure, with plenty of orangy tang, but lovely spicy length and grip.
(2009) >From Cachapoal, 16 months in barrel, then blended and back into barrel for four months, using components form the single vineyards. Fantastic, deep colour, with lovely big, soft nose, with black fruit, cedar and a touch of forest floor character. There is a lot of complexity here, with a palate that is very powerful, but has a beautifully rounded, minty smoothness. Fine sour, slightly black olive constraint here, that makes this food-friendly and gives a lovely sense of balance and finesse. Spicy and fine, with a black cherry acidity. But certainly lives up to the Anakena style.
(2002) More fudgy oak sweetness here, with a slick of vanilla wrapping black fruits, which have a ripe cassis quality. The palate is cool, with medium weight and good quality of fruit. Quite dense and ripe, tempered by chewy tannins and some solid structure. Quite long.