(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.
(2015) The Casablanca Valley is the longest established of Chile's recognised cooler climate regions, but Syrah is not the variety that springs to mind as a Casablanca speciality. There is a lovely purity about this wine, certainly a Syrah at the floral and perfumed end of the spectrum, a hint of freshly laid tar, balsamic notes. 65% ageing in oak adding gloss and smoothness, the palate rich with black fruits, all very silky, very seductive, and nicely balanced too. A most impressive wine. £8.25, The Wine Society.
(2014) >From Casablanca, this is like walking through a damp forest, kicking up the briar and leaves of the damp autum. Gorgeous vanilla layering, and so much hedgerow and cassis fruit beneath. So much full, ripe, rich flavour licked with vanilla and juicy briar. Lovely palate, with a delicate and delicious edge of spice and pipe tobacco always intriguing and ultimately, hedonistic and subsuming. Fabulous.
(2013) Around 1380 GDD here, with a diurnal range of 16.5ºC. 14.4% ABV. The first of the Chardonnays comes from sandy alluvial soils, where granite and clay make for good drainage but some water retention. It has a pale green-gold colour and gentle toast, hints of ripe fig and of brioche, with some Cox's pippin nuttiness. On the palate it is dry, the mineral and stony character coming through, with lots of intensity and concentration, but good energy too.
(2013) 1380 GDD with a diurnal range of 16.5ºC. 14% ABV, this comes from further inland and a warmer climate, but quite similar granite hillside soils. A higher proportion of new oak is used. It is more earthy and vegetal, with real Pinot mushroom and truffle. It is big and quite grippy and structured stuff on the palate, spicy, with a firm grip to the tannins and that earthy, vegetal dryness. Quite fine tannins but dry, and a slightly less elegant but good expression of Pinot.
(2012) Blast of asparagus and crunchy very ripe, with tropical fruit notes against toasty oak. Rich on the palate, with tropical, lychee and mango fruit. Substantial stuff with gorgeous power and a serious wine, and good acidity too.
(2011) 14% abv, Screwcap. A bold and creamy black fruit nose, with a lovely little lift of flowers and herbs, really suggesting the Pinot here is ripe and pure. The palate has very nice juiciness and bold, chocolate-ripe tannins, with plenty of cherry-fresh acidity and a long, liquorice-tinged finish. A fairly big and chunky rendition of Pinot, but a good one.
(2011) 13% abv, Cork. A £30 Pinot from Chile is a rarity, and here the wine is all about fragrance and ashy restraint, a delicately floral lift and tight, subtle black fruit notes. The palate has real finesse - a totally different beast from the Vista Hermosa - with cherry and leafy, herby raspberry notes and a real elegance to the tannins and acidity. This is delicious and of authentically high quality. It has the sweet fruit and harmony to age too. £30.60, Berry Bros & Rudd
(2010) From one plot in Casablanca, only 2000 cases produced. Some of the wine matured in older oak. Soft oatmeal and cream nose, with waxy lemon skin fruit and a touch of peach or ripe Ogen melon. The palate has a touch of bitter lemon quality, gives some grip and structure and seems to be a little bit of a Casablanca style? Nice fresh fruit and the acidity and grip sits nicely against sweet fruit. Seems a little bit hot in the finish.
(2010) From Casablanca. Aged in big barrels. Aromatically very expressive, with masses of apricot and ripe pear fruit, and a floral character. The palate is balanced and very fruity, with lots of juicy, quite fat nectarine fruit, but the acidity is good and keeps it sharp.