(2021) Casa del Bosque is something of a Sauvignon specialist, and winemaker Meinard Bloem says the change over the years has been to let the wines be more 'natural' and not try to force particular aromatics. From a vineyard very close to the coast on sandy soils. Very nice, gentle herbal character, more tomato leaf than green bean, with a fine citrus freshness, joined by a touch of tropical character on the palate, plenty of acidity to counteract just a hint of sweetness.
(2021) A very different style from the Tayu 1865, with 14% alcohol as opposed to 12.5%, and more obvious barrel ageing - 14 months in barriques. Winemaker Matias Rios says that they are seeking delicacy more and more in their Pinot, helped by the cooling Humbolt current, though the climate of the Casablanca also allows roundness of tannins. Certainly more luscious and darker aromatically, dense sweet fruit, vanilla and chocolate a little floral lift. Fuller, rounder palate, again that sweet fleshy cherry fruit, smooth and silky to the finish with some spice and good cherry acidity.
(2020) A change of pace here, with a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Tempranillo coming from the Casablanca Valley, just 22 kmilometres from the coast. The Syrah is raised for 14 months in untoasted oak foudres, the Tempranillo in amphorae. That treatment adds a savoury, tapendade and charcuterie character, a touch of ashy quality or leafiness (but not green), and a meatiness blending with red fruit freshness on the palate. It's a wine with lovely sweetness and textural weight in the mouth, and that sense of meatiness and savoury grip with balanced acidity into the finish.
(2020) Chile's coastal Casablanca Valley was its original cool-climate region, with Chardonnay one of its key varieites. This has clearly seen some oak, with a buttery, toasty sheen of nutty oak over pear and citrus. In the mouth it has real fruit ripeness and sweetness, but balance too, the support of the creamy oak and fresh acidity meaning the more tropical, pineapple and Ogen melon flavours that develop on the mid-palate, finish with a bit of crispness and texture. Impressive for a £6.99 wine.
(2019) From the original 'cool climate' valley of Chile, Casablanca, where morning mists and proximity to the ocean moderate temperatures, this is lightly-oaked, and spends four months on the lees, giving it breadth and texture and a certain creaminess. Aromatically there's a bit of almost Sauvignon-like passionfruit, peach and notes of more exotic tropical fruits. In the mouth that leesiness gives a mouth-filling texture, and again the fruit is ripe and exotic, with mango and papaya, as well as a grapefruity note that continues into the finish to add a welcome acid counterpoint. Quite long, and a lovely style really, blending ripeness and openness, with a stylish, dry finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) If you're a fan of the vivacious, aromatically pungent style of Sauvignon Blanc you will love this. From Casablanca, the original cool-climate valley on Chile's coast, it is loaded with pea shoot and grassy, elderflower punch and and intense lychee fruitiness. In the mouth that intensity does not let up, a sweeping core of pithy, almonst saline lemon acidity streaking through the tropical fruit richness of the mid-palate. I've come up against very few Chilean Sauvignons with this much personality and zing. Absolutely worth trying if you like this style.
(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) 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.
(2015) Cabernet Franc is the great red wine grape of Bordeaux's 'right bank' as well as the Loire Valley in France, and yet it is a variety that does not always travel well, finding nothing like the global popularity of its cousin, Cabernet Sauvignon. And yet when it is ripe and made well it offers a wonderful combination of full-fruited richness and an energised, lively personality. This is a terrific example of that, ripe and sweetly packed with blackcurranty fruit, yet so agile with its cherry and raspberry lick of red fruit acidity, svelte tannins and sappy and refreshing edge.
Like an excellent Loire red (or even a fine Cru Beaujolais in some ways), but with the dial turned up to 11. Watch the video for my full review and for specific food matching suggestions.
(2015) A sophisticated Pinot Grigio from the cool coastal vineyards of the Casablanca Valley, this has loads of aromatic character unlike some bland versions of this variety. Sparky with greengage and hints of elderflower, and lots of crunchy apple and lime aromatics. In the mouth it becomes much more tropical, and I believe there's a bit of residual sugar here too, giving this a full and luscious character, whilst it has spice, texture and acidity. A big blast of orange finishes in style. That sweetness and verve would make it ideal with spicy Thai and Szechuan dishes.