Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Wine Club Night - Chilean Wines

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMJason Clarke
Contributed Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc
Jason Clarke
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As I have mentioned on a number of occasions, I get together with an interesting mix of characters once a month to sip, savour and compare notes on wines.

Inspired by a tasting I attended of the Montes line of wines recently, this month, I played host to sample some Chilean wines. Chile is a major South American wine producer, hemmed between the towering peaks of the Andes Mountain range in the east and the vast Pacific Ocean to the west. The result being fairly extreme climatic conditions.

On the recommendation of my friends at the Chilean Embassy, we sampled a few wines that certainly represented some of the greats that the country has produced, and they had us wanting more. The best way to tackle a tasting like this is to start with whites - specifically lighter whites, then whites with body and complexity followed by the same procedure with reds.

Whites

Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc has a pale yellow colour with a very fresh citrus-like nose. Typical of many Sauvignon Blancs, it embodies that green, grassy-like smell. From the first sip, it's a beautiful balance of intensity and acidity. This is a great summer option. A Sauvignon Blanc like this complements seafood really well, especially one of my favourites - oysters.

Casillero Del Diablo Pinot Grigio is another great summer option with a light straw-like colour and fresh pear aromas. It's delicate and gentle with crisp acidity that leaves you wanting more. This is a great option by itself or with a salad. If you are concerned about calories, no need to worry, the calorie count is just about 80 per glass.

Reds

Chile is best known for producing some amazing red wines with rich, intense flavours. Our group happens to be diehard red wine drinkers, so a lot more emphasis was placed on reds.

Trio, as the name suggests, is a blend of three grapes, and the Merlot, being the more dominant varietal, had a great supporting cast of a Syrah and Carmenere for body and complexity. This beautiful deep red wine has such an impressive nose of dark fruit, chocolate, and to a lesser extent tobacco. Superbly beautiful in the mouth, it feels like velvet massaging your tongue. As the first in the range of reds, this was truly spectacular. I have often said that Merlot's are great all-rounders, with the presence to bat, fortitude to catch and the tenacity to bowl, like a good cricket all-star.

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon is arguably the flagship varietal of this winemaker with a number of awards and accolades behind it, and from our own experience, a few more to come. Beautiful aromas of cherry and plum with a note at the end which may very well be the toasty elements from being aged in oak.

The superstar for the night was none other than Marques Casa Concha 2012 Carmenere. There is such attention to every detail. In discussing it with Montserrat Gonzalez, deputy chief of missions for Chile, she shared that during harvest, these grapes are hand-picked and the wine itself aged for 18 months in French oaks. The result is a dark and deep-red wine with an intense profile of plums, black currents and chocolate. Wine Spectator rated this wine at 90, which speaks volumes. The room was filled with 'ooos' and 'ahhhs' from the first pour to the last drop.

A few years ago, a fellow wine enthusiast saw me in a wine bar enjoying my favourite Bordeaux and said, "Jason, it's about time you step up and start drinking real wine," and proceeded to pull a bottle of Primus. It was an instant love affair. It is a beautiful red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Merlot. The best lots of the vintage are selected, blend harmoniously and aged in French oak for a minimum of 12 months. With lush flavours of plum, strawberry and blueberry with soft and velvety tannins, bright acidity and seamlessly integrated oak provide lovely structure and a lingering finish. Everything comes together in your mouth to be simply described as yummy.

Cheers!

n I am not an expert, merely a wine enthusiast sharing my thoughts and experiences. Feel free to give feedback and share your own experiences at wineenthusiastja