Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wines of Chile ** Vancouver'10

I was fortunate enough that someone invited me to the brilliantly executed Wines of Chile TASTE CHILE Vancouver'10 in October. Not only a fantastic affair due to the level of quality chosen in the wines, but just as equally (if not more equally?) was the quality of panelists who lead the discourse throughout the two hour lecture.

     Billed as an "Organic Seminar" it was as much a back-and-forth conversation about farming methods & bottling practices, as it was a chance to sample some wines that people outside of Chile will rarely see... much less taste.

Sommelier DJ Kearney & David Scholefield
     Leading the motley throng of us was the eminent DJ  ), Vancouver based wine guru, judge and educator. I myself was lucky enough to study under DJ already, and look forward to the privilege again . DJ knows how to keep a class in check, no matter the age or skill level of her students
     As well were Mr Marco Antonio de Martino (of the infamously organic winemaking family), Phillipe Dulos (a global marketing developer and innovator for Claro Group), Giorgio Flassati (an Italian who moved to Chile to make high-altitude wine) and Jose Guilisasti Gana (who began with the mass producer Concha y Toro in the 1980's and became the General Manager and Director of Greenvic). All learned people, and we were honored to have David Scholefield as our Canadian eyes-through-the-looking-glass (as it were). I truly felt humbled by the invitation, and planned to use my time wisely... I listened, I tasted, I asked some pointed questions... I participated, on whatever level I felt I could.

     At the end of the afternoon, I was left with my head spinning, and not from blood alcohol, but from knowledge... From inspirational people opening themselves and sharing some of their passion with me - a virtual outsider to their secret world. Who knew that winemakers were so zealous about their land, their work, their love. I for one, as a chef, did not know. I thought only we chefs could be maniacal about little idiosyncrasies in our industry (that no one outside the industry really cares for or knows about). But, perhaps, all artists are like this? All artisans? For what else could a great winemaker be, other then an artisan.

ARTISAN /ˈɑrtəzən/
a person skilled in an applied art; a craftsperson.
— n
1. a skilled workman; craftsman
2. obsolete; an artist

     And so I will take a moment to say my thanks, my gratitude, to the endless artisans who shared the (literal) fruits of their labors with me. 
Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery Organic Chardonnay, 2009
(San Antonio Valley)
$14.49 (general listing)      GOOD VALUE
  • nose:    moderate+ intense fresh grassy & herbaceous, light vanilla, light layered citrus
  • palate:   moderate++ acids, moderately intense palate of crisp green apples, light florality
  • PAIRS WITH:   consider fresh pork tenderloin or a roast turkey with chestnut stuffing
Emiliana Vineyards Adobe Chardonnay, 2010,
(Casablanca Valley)
$14.99 (speciality listing)     GOOD VALUE
  • nose:     moderate+ intense *(very similar to above) but with more oak, less herbs
  • palate:   moderate+ acids, light grippy tannins, moderate+ intense flavors of green and gold apple, ripe Anjou pear
  • PAIRS WITH:  yam filled agnelotti with a leek & saffron cream reduction
Geo Wines Chono San Lorenzo Rose Syrah Organic, 2009,
(Maipo Valley)
$15.99 (speciality order)      GOOD VALUE
  • nose:     moderately intense florality; red roses & orange blossom primarily
  • palate:   fully intense acids, moderate tannins, palate mimicks the nose well with the addition of a tightness to the Meyer lemon finish
  • PAIRS WITH:   Raclette. Bring on the cheesey goodness!
Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery Organic Pinot Noir, 2009
(Colchagua Valley)
$14.99 (general listing)     GOOD VALUE
  • nose:     fully intense aromas of funky game, baie noir such as blackberry & saskatoon, garrigue herbaceousness
  • palate:   moderate+ acids, full+ tannins, moderately intense palate... I find the oak interferes right now... fruit not able to show through the heavy oak but a long & developed structure, moderate body. I would want to taste this in 6months/12/18 to watch the growth
  • PAIRS WITH:   steak tartare in all it's primal glory
Vina Falernia S.A. Organic Syrah, 2008
(Limari Valley)
$14.99 (speciality order)     EXCELLENT VALUE
  • nose:     moderately intense baie rouges & noirs, minty herbs
  • palate:   moderate+ acids, full tannins, moderate+ intense flavors with loads of those red & black berries, tobacco, some dark chocolate.. tannins are still strong for my taste, and I would want to revisit in 6/12/18
  • PAIRS WITH:  a natural pairing for classic Boeuf Bourguignon
De Martino Organic Cabernet/Malbec, 2008
(Maipo Valley)
$19.99 (spec order)     GOOD VALUE
  • nose:      moderate+ funky game, baie noirs with a herbaceous finish
  • palate:   moderate acids, fully+ (chalky) tannins, moderate+ intense palate with the palate mimicking the nose impeccably... strong tannins ask for a revisit in 6/12/18
  • PAIRS WITH:   charbroiled red meats (preferably with some fat to it - bacon wrapped tenderloin?)
Nativa Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007
(Maipo Valley)
$unknown - completely unavailable     EXCELLENT VALUE
  • nose:     moderate+ to full- intense filled with cocoa, musk & layers of green wood
  • palate:   moderate acids, full+ tannins, moderate+ intense palate mimicking the nose.. heavy tannins and a superbly designed structure make me want to taste this in 6/12/24/36/48... moderate body... I think this wine could cellar like a charm and show well from 2015-2020 (and possibly beyond)
  • PAIRS WITH:   truffled osso bucco. This is a rich wine and deserves rich food.
Vina Caliterra Bio Sur Carmenere, 2009
(Colchagua Valley)
$14.99 (unavailable)     DECENT VALUE
  • nose:     moderately intense cigar tobacco, pencil shavings, slightly hot alcohol & baie noirs
  • palate:   moderate acids, fully intense acids, moderate+ to full bodied, decent structure (especially for the price), moderately intense flavors, but unfortunately the aggressive tannins interrupt everything else. Taste again in 6/12/18
Vina San Pedro Tarapaca 35 South Cabernet/Merlot, 2009
(Cachapoal Valley)
$13.95 (special order)     EXCELLENT VALUE
  • nose:      moderate+ intense funky Chilean"ness"; funky fungal/vegetal earthiness
  • palate:   moderate- acids, moderate+ tannins, moderate+ body, very long & developed structure (for $14), moderately intense palate already showing well & drinking easily; soft baie rouges in multi-layers & persistent oak
  • PAIRS WITH:   classic Roast of Beef with an herb-Dijon crust. The herbs will play off the red berry notes, the beef off the oak & the Dijon will give an edge to a somewhat underdeveloped wine
Errazuriz Organics Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007
(Aconcagua Valley)
$22.95 (speciality order)     GOOD VALUE
  • nose:     moderately intense notes of vibrant minerality, dark cocoa, tobacco & Chilean herbs
  • palate:   moderately intense acids, full++ tannins, moderate+ body, moderate+ structure, moderately intense flavors completely masked by overoaking (In My Humble Opinion). I would want to revisit in 12/24/36/48... due to the richness in the structure & nose I believe it has a beautiful life to awaken to... but when?
Vina San Pedro Tarapaca Plus, 2008
(Maipo Valley)
$19.95 (speciality order)
  • nose:     fully intense and wildy exotic (to a Canadian) floral waves, combined with stonefruit & some exotic fruits
  • palate:   moderate acids, full+ tannins, moderate body, moderate structure, moderately intense flavors that followed the nose (though much more tamely) and were predominantly of red berries. I would only revisit at 3/6/12 (months) as the structure was that of a wine to be consumed in it's youth (I assume)
  • PAIRS WITH:   a simple steak & compound butter; Steak Frites
Emiliana Vineyards Coyam, 2007
(Colchagua Valley)
$34.99 (speciality order)    BUY THIS NOW.
  • nose:     almost fully intense bouquet of long floral layers, intertwined with pencil shavings & light tobacco of the finest quality
  • palate:   moderate+ acids, moderate+ tannins, full- body, brilliantly long and developed structure - this wine drank far above it's class, moderate+ intense flavors that mimicked the nose admirably. I have never tried a Coyam before, but will look for it again - this was my personal hit in a long list of truly well crafted wines
  • PAIRS WITH:   my notes say Grilled Ribeye, but even then I realized that a simple ribeye would fall short of this special wine... I would poach a free-range beef tenderloin (poaching to make it buttery soft to pair with a sinful wine and free-range has a greater depth of flavor to enrich the wine) and finish with some seared foie gras as that will play off the acids and round out the body of an already luscious wine
Vina Arboleda Sena, 2007
(Aconchagua Valley)
$99.99 (not available)     EXCELLENT VALUE
  • nose:     moderate+ intense Chilean florals, rich Burgundian leathery oak with the associated notes of game, bloody meat, roast beef, bay leaves & wild thyme
  • palate:   moderate+ acids, moderate+ chalky tannins, moderate+ to full bodied, fully developed-rich-nuanced structure, moderately intense flavors that mimick the nose with a strong undercurrant of baie noirs, the floral reminded me a great deal of the Maipo Valley wines, and a slight lime finish. Of note, this is actually a Bordeaux blend, just without the Malbec

     A wonderful treat to be allowed to sit in on this lecture, and a wonderful treat  for me to be able to write about it for all of you. Many thanks to my readers as this is officially my #100 Blog Article, and has now been read over 1800 times this year. 10 months ago I never would have guessed. I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it.


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