(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) A Malbec-based blend, this is a little bit reductive, then the palate delivers juicy fruit, smoky, big dry tannic charcter. Sweet mid-palate fruit and bold and generously juicy.
(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.
(2015) Adorned with a "94 Points" sticker (from Chilean wine magazine, Descorchados), this is a Rhône blend of 68% Grenache with 21% Mourvèdre and Syrah from the Punta del Viento zone of the Colchagua Valley. The wine was aged for 13 months in 2nd and 3rd-fill oak. Richly aromatic, there is spice and toast, game and bloody aromas abounding, but this is perfumed too, some floral notes and fresh-cracked white pepper lift. In the mouth this has substance and density, the solid berry fruits layered with cocoa and juicy cherry, silky tannins and a long, integrated finish. It's big stuff with its 15% alcohol, but does not seem too heavy or alcoholic.
(2015) One of the upmarket brands within the excellent Concha y Toro portfolio, this comes from their Peumo vineyard in Colchagua and is aged for 18 months in French oak. It's immediately classy stuff with a whiff of graphite and hint of eucalyptus, and beneath a core of solid, plump and ripe black fruits. There's a touch - no more - of a camphor and incense-like exoticism too. On the palate this has a great core of black fruit, tight like blackcurrant and blueberry, a hugely intense concentration, and dark notes of coffee and liquorice adding to the sensuality. The tannins are very chocolaty, and this finishes big (14.5% abv) but balanced and impressively long.