(2018) A really nice, cool-character Chardonnay from Colchagua's more coastal vineyards, fermented with wild yeasts and with only a small proportion fermented and aged in French oak. Lime and peach fruit touched by creamy oak lead on to a palate that's citrussy and fresh, with a nice saline lick of salty acidity, and a long finish where the ripe fruit and creamy oak just fattens nicely.
(2018) The Root 1 range of wines from Ventisquero are all made from ungrafted vines, planted on their own roots. This hardly ever happens in the world of wine ever since the Phyloxerra infestation that devasted (and contunues to devastate) vineyards across the world as the solution is to plant a generic, but resistant rootstock, then graft the variety of vine you want onto it. Chile's sandy soils provide protection from the Phyloxerra louse, and here the signature grape Carmenere is blended with 15% Syrah and aged in French and American oak. There's a touch of reduction at first, but a deep and plummy fruitiness comes through, and a sappy, herbal edge that's so typical of the variety. In the mouth it is rich, spicy and crammed with bittersweet black fruit, nice solidity to the tannins and acids, and a helluva mouthful of wine at the £6 offer price until 16th September. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) The words 'Viñedo Centenario' on the label tell you that this blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Malbec comes from vineyards planted over 100 years ago in Chile's Colchagua Valley. There's a beautifully light touch to this wine, both in colour and aroma, which along with the modest alcohol indicates a gently and carefully made wine that respects these ancient vines. There is black fruit - cherry and blackcurrant - but also a little herbal and briar note, spice and pepper, and some of Malbec's floral lift. In the mouth there's a lovely balance of savoury and sweet, with a sour cherry tang to the acidity, gentle but very tannins and the finish showing fruit and savoury spices. Watch the video for more details.
(2017) Vinedos Emiliana is one of South America's most passionate advocates of organic and biodynamic viticulture, and this certified organic Carmenere is an excellent introduction to their range. Only 20% of the blend was aged in French oak barrels for six months, allowing the lifted, violet and white pepper character of this aromatic red to shine, the palate smooth and glossy, with black fruits touched by chocolate and a gentle, cherry juice acidity, the softening creaminess of the barrels filling out the low tannin, quaffable finish. Eminently juicy and approachable, but with savoury credentials as a food wine too. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas. Note too that supplier Oddbins will be pouring their wines at my London and Edinburgh Festivals of Wine.
(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) 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) 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
(2015) Emiliana This is southern hemisphere red wine at its big and bountiful best, the abundantly fruity expression of a Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot and Mourvèdre blend is all bitter dark chocolate and violet, rippled with creamy oak and filling the mouth with fleshy black fruits and clove spice. Overflowing with flavour, it's sensationally smooth but has the tannin and acid structure under that weight of plush fruit to cellar for several years.
(2015) A 50/50 blend that was once very popular in Australia, though less so from Chile, this comes from Colchagua, is screwcapped, has 13.5% alcohol and only a minor proportion of the Chardonnay sees some ageing in French oak. Citrussy, crisp and fruit-forward on the nose, there is a little succulent hint of honey or almond. In the mouth this is highly sippable, balancing the freshness of the fruit and acidity with a little bit of creamy generosity and texture, to create a nice aperitif or adaptable food wine. A touch of spice orangy intensity in the finish adds some seriousness.