(2021) Quite reserved, quite classical, with some gravel and blackcurrant on the nose, a delicate graphite note and subtle oak. Very European in style. The palate bursts with real sweet fruit intensity, ripe cassis flavours, lots of juiciness and tang, but an infill of coffee-smooth tannins and fairly brisk acidity lengthens the finish. Possibly not Bordeaux, but with a Bordeaux sensibility?
(2021) Session host Alistair Cooper says Carmenere is coming of age to an extent, only having been rediscovered in Chile in the 1990s. Winemaker for Tarapaca, Sebastian Ruiz, explains that this wine from grantic soils closer to the ocean shows the influence that terroir has on the variety. So much denser and darker in colour than the three preceding reds, there's not a lot of the green, pyrozene character of some examples, but there is a dark, glossy fruity character and some real graphite finesse. The palate follows that recipe: smooth dark fruits, supple and creamy tannins, good acid balance and great drinkability.
(2021) Premium winemaker for Santa Rita, Sebastián Labbé, makes this from a selection of their oldest vineyards in the Alto Maipo. It undergoes spontaneous fermentation with wild yeasts and spends 14 months in second- and third-fill French oak barrels. Vibrant in colour and fruit profile, with blueberry and blackcurrant, but there's an olive-like herbal note too, and a subtle pencil-shaving finesse. In the mouth it offers a very silky, sweet and seductive depth of black fruits, but once again the acidity of this terroir and a chalky background of tannins adds fine freshness. Pure and fruity to the finish, it's another delicious but serious wine. No UK stockists listed at time of review.
(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.