Chile has a great ambassador for its wines, Master of Wine Peter Richards who drinks and breathes Chile and writes and talks about it on every possible occasion. He presented a seminar at the recent London Wine Fair. His theme was Chile, Regionality and Innovation and his enthusiasm was infectious. There were at least three wines that I wanted to go out and buy straight away. One was a Pinot Noir, so not within the scope of this blog, but the other two had a distinctly Languedoc flavour.
2012 Errazuriz The Blend Collection from the Aconcagua Valley. A blend of 50% Marsanne, 38% Roussanne and 12% Viognier. Retail price £33 and imported by Hatch Mansfield.
Peter used this wine to demonstrate the success of Mediterranean blends in Chile and to show how Roussanne and Marsanne are gaining in importance there. These vines were planted in 1999, so they are still fairly young. The Marsanne provides structure and extract, Roussanne freshness and Viognier some perfume. And the result was delicious. Light golden colour. Some leafy notes; some floral notes and a leesy note on the nose. There is a little oak ageing, but nothing too obvious, so that the palate is rounded with good acidity and really appealing mouth feel, textured and harmonious, youthful and balanced. It would be fascinating to drink alongside a similar blend from the Languedoc.
2013 Montes Wines Outer Limits Cinsaut from the Itata valley. $15.99 retail and the UK importer is Liberty Wines.
The blend is 85% Cinsaut with a dollop of Mourvèdre. This wine had that lovely fresh cherry fruit that I associate with Cinsaut. Quite a deep young colour, and ripe fresh fruit on both the nose and palate, with some appealing spice, and a streak of tannin and some acidity to the finish, which provides the freshness.
Again Peter chose this wine for its innovative features. With their range Outer Limits, Montes are encouraging their winemakers to experiment, and Itata is a region that we shall hear more of. This Cinsaut is not intended to be an ambitious wine, but something delicious to drink. I even wondered if it would have been even more delicious without the Mourvèdre.
2011 Morandé Mediterráneo del Maule, a blend of 54% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 4% Marsanne, 20% Carignan and 3% Roussanne. £22.29 – UK importer Barwell and Jones.
This was fascinating. The Marsanne and Syrah were co-fermented, as were the Carignan and Roussanne. 2011 was the first vintage of this wine, and again Peter showed it to illustrate Chile’s potential for Mediterranean grape varieties. Deep young colour, with quite a closed young nose, with pepper, perfume and oak on the palate. The palate is still very intense and youthful with dense red fruit and youthful tannins. It will be intriguing to see how it develops.
All three wines show Chile’s potential for Mediterranean grape varieties, illustrating a shift away from the varieties of Bordeaux.