(2019) Cousiño Macul was one of the earliest Chilean producers I bought way back in the 80s, due to a terrific red wine called Antiguas Reservas. This was my first tasting of their Sauvignon Gris, an uncommon grape variety, examples of which from other producers I have always enjoyed. With more density and meat than Sauvignon Blanc, this has pea-pod aromas and a bold, firm, dry stone fruit character, with mid-palate sweetness before a grippy and slightly phenolic finish of fruit skins and melon rind.
(2016) From a single vineyard in Chile's Maipo Valley, this Syrah from Concha y Toro was aged in barrels for 14 months, a combination of small 'barriques' and large 5,000-litre casks. It has an expressive nose with a hint of meaty, sizzling bacon fat against dark, plummy fruit. On the palate it is full-bodied and dense with its 14.5% alcohol, but that meatiness and the dark bittersweet fruit and acidity is well-matched by the structure in a food-friendly wine that will also cellar for a couple of years. Watch the video for food-matching advice and more information. Note: on sale at £9 in Tesco from 24/05 - 13/06, 2016.
(2016) Solid and sweet cassis and black plum, licked with chocolate and smoky spice, but seriously sweet and ripe fruit, with a richness and gloss, though the chocolate smoothness of the tannins makes it very svelte and creamy. Good structure in a classic style, and very well done. 2013 not in UK at time of writing, so price quoted is for 2012.
(2016) Maipo fruit. Colluvial material from the volcanos. A minty, eucalypt nose, with a touch of smokiness and good black fruit, dark berries. The palate has a great juicy concentration of cassis, with a tart plum and cherry skin acidity, and again the tannins are ripe and creamy-smooth. The structure is there, but it’s a tight framework of tannins and acids draped by that sweet black fruit and creamy oak.
(2016) A lot of mint here, that Sebastian thinks is partly due to their huge diurnal shift that means overnight the plants cannot assimilate the heat and ripening of the day, so ripening is slightly delayed and can produce the cedar/minty notes. All French oak, this is made approximately 3 or 4 times per decade. Along with the mint is cool, smooth cassis and onto the palate cedar and a gentle creaminess. There's a meatiness too, and the tannins are smoothed with a creamy density and great balance, the wine is young and needs a little time.
(2016) Quite meaty, with rich black fruit, a spiciness and graphite and cedar nuances. Very tight, deep and glossy, muscular but also refined, a svelte black fruit creaminess and a lovely liquorice depth. Such lovely sweet fruit but excellent structure to age.
(2016) Meaty and balsamic on the nose, a touch of classic green nuance to the Cab fruit, but such a flood of super sweet deep black fruit. Great creamy sweetness and utterly delicious, arguably more obvious than the 2010, but yummy.
(2016) Bloody iron oxide, meaty and has cedar and graphite notes, moving through to a massively sweet palate, layered with chocolate and mint-touched cassis fruit. Still has real juiciness, and a lovely Bordeaux-style refinement.
(2016) Oak is one third each of new, 2nd and 3rd use barrela. Juicy and lightly minty, with some chocolate and earthy creamy notes. It has pretty big tannins, chewy and dense, a spicy and balanced finish.
(2016) This unusual 'icon' Petite Sirah comes from an old pergola vineyard of table grapes, grafted to Petite Sirah. It has a fabulous nose, the lift and kirsch-like aromatics, lots of cassis and coffee, obviously plenty of oak, but the prettiness of the fruit comes through. The palate has huge smoothness, with massive grippy tannins, and loads of black fleshy fruit. Delicious and massive, but it is a really impressive wine. Note stockist quoted is for the 2010 vintage at time of writing.