(2021) Valdivieso were one of the first to attempt a 'super premium' wine from Chile when they launched Caballo Loco #1 almost two decades ago. Mystery surrounds it, being a non vintage wine from unspecified regions, and a blend of 10 different varieties that are never fully disclosed. Some of the wines in this blend date back to 1992, with around 50% from 2012. It is aged for 18 months in French oak. Nicely mature, gamy and in many ways Bordeaux-like on the nose, there is cedar and a peppery, spicy lift, and good black fruit. Smooth as silk on the palate, again the mind turns to Bordeaux, the aged wines ensuring a softer tannin profile, but still keen fruit and acid in balance, glycerine-rich sweetness to the mid-palate fruit, and a harmonious finish. A wine that is unique, very easy to drink, and very easy to like.
(2019) An organic certified wine from Miguel Torres's Chilean operation, this has a nice deep, bold garnet-pink colour that certainly stands out among the pale set of pinks currently so in vogue. The nose has depth too; blackcurrant and a touch blackcurrant syrupy character, some fragrant rose bouquet too. In the mouth a much more textured and mouth-filling wine than the paler examples, by comparison fairly slippery texture and with so much ripe, bold fruit sweetness. It is dry in the finish, with nice cherry and lemon acids, and you've got to love such a confidently unfashionable take on current rosé trends. Could work well with milk chocolate desserts.
(2019) Viña Ventisquero always does a good job with its wines, and this is no exception. There's enough gooseberry and elderflower to satisfy the SB fan, a tropical fruit-basket of aroma and flavour, and a good level of intensity here, being dry and well-balanced with nothing out of place, and it is very approachable with its tempered acidity and generous mouthfeel. The Merlot partner also delivers a solidly pleasing mouthful of red wine, and both can be recommended with confidence at their offer price of £5.50 in the Co-op, until 23rd April 2019. Watch the video for more information on both wines.
(2018) A wine that always makes me smile because it is so resolutely unfashionable in colour, a deep magenta/red that's easily the darkest of all the wines tasted here. Cabernet is evident on the nose, both blackcurrant and a touch of something herbaceous, before a full, sweet and creamy palate, some residual sugar softening the edges. Not a style I could drink a lot of, but chunky enough for a chile con carne or some beef empenadas.
(2018) Since I last reviewed this wine it has gained 'Fairtrade' accreditation, but is still 100% País, a local variety, and made by the traditional method with nine months lees-ageing in bottle. A pretty vibrant pink, it's all charming raspberry and summer-pudding fruits on the nose, with a crisp and easy-drinking palate, similar in style overall to a quality Prosecco with its lightness, freshness and touch of residual sugar to ensure quaffability.
(2017) Plums and cherry skins on the nose, a touch of smouldering bonfire, in a nicely judged Merlot where sweet and ripe fruit has enough plushness without becoming too jammy, with easy-going tannins to give it a bit of grip.
(2017) A full-coloured, light-cherry rosé from Chile, that is a little too much like Ribena on first sniff, certainly full of very sweet-scented blackcurrant, cherry and rose-hip. In the mouth there is some sweetness, but it is also fairly full with its 13.5% alcohol, and has a lemony acid at the core. Not totally convincing stylistically for me - but that's surely a personal preference.
(2017) The New World's makers of Viognier have got it right, after early renditions of this Rhône grape variety were almost inevitably too alcohol and so ripe as to be blowsy and lacking in acid. This is a fine example of when Chile gets the variety right, grown organically and fresh with scents of wild flowers, juicy peach and lemon peel. In the mouth there is abundant fruit sweetness, a free-slowing peach juice clarity, but there's fine acidity to balance, a lick of salt and squeeze of lemon, giving a crisp, moreish finish.
(2015) 13.5% abv. This Fair Trade wine from Chile's Central Valleys is refreshing in these days when 9 out of 10 rosés on the shelves seem to either be from Provence, or are mimicking that very pale, almost white wine style. It is fun to see a vibrantly deep, garnet-coloured wine like this. It xplodes with unashamed sweet fruit. A riot of crunchy, off-dry cherry and ripe blackcurrant, it has a nip of spicy tannin and plenty acidity, and is a delicious banker for summer barbecues.
(2010) Central Valley. Stainless steel with some staves and chips, part malolactic. Quite buttery and ripe, with lots of vanilla and nectarine fruit. The palate has a sweet fruited character ( though technically dry at just 2.3g/l residual sugar). Creamy and crowd-pleasing, perhaps lacks a bit of mid-palate fruit intensity before the vanilla-touched finish comes through.