Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

The Super Itata returns

February 16, 2018 Leave a comment

The latest release of 2014 Rogue Vine, Super Itata Tinto, Itata Valley continues the series of interesting wines from Chile.  It bears some similarity to the 2015 Grand Itata in that it is fresh with good acidity, baking spices, and earth yet the 2014 Super Itata is savory with vintage perfume notes.  To me it reinforces the notion that some cool wines come from Itata Valley.  You may grab this bottle at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Rogue Vine, Super Itata Tinto, Itata Valley – $25
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports.   This wine is a blend of 33% Syrah, 33% Malbec, and 33% Carignan that was aged for 6 months in in old barriques.  Alcohol 13.7%.  The nose offers an interesting mix of red fruit, apples, and wet spices.  In the mouth is a slightly earthy start with notes of vintage perfume.  The wine is lighter in weight with fine, fresh tannic structure, and an almost lively profile.  With air it shows itself as perfectly integrated with a savory finish of cinnamon baking spices, licorice, and earth.  *** Now -2020.

A trio of Cinsault from Itata in Chile

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

If you are looking for interesting and tasty wines then I suggest you grab the three bottles of Cinsault featured in this post.  All three wines are made from old vines grown in the Itata Valley of Chile yet they are radically different wines.

The most exciting wine is the 2015 Rogue Vine, Grand Itata Tinto, Itata Valley.  There is a deep, earthy note which immediately confers complexity to the bright, lifted red fruit.  I find it downright tasty but the wine requires a few more months of age to reach maximum flavor.  The 2014 Viñateros Bravos, Canto a lo Divino Cinsault, Itata Valley is the lightest of the trio.  It smells like the pine trees of New Mexico and is clearly a lighter wine yet has roundness in the mouth.  You will find a mouthful of berries with the 2015 Pedro Parra y Familia, Imaginador Cinsault, Itata Valley.  The fruit is very forward making this a wine to drink now yet there is a supporting spine of lively acidity.  My only gripe is that there is a bit too much fruit for my preference.

Each one of these wines is full of character which is a treat given the reasonable prices.  You may find all three selections at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Rogue Vine, Grand Itata Tinto, Itata Valley – $20
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of 95% Cinsault and 5% Pais from vines planted in 1960.  Alcohol 13%. There is a touch of deep earth to the bright red fruit aromas.  In the mouth this is an acidity driven, dry wine with watering acidity.  There is a core of ripe cranberry fruit, some black fruit, and baking spices.  There is good flavor and even a luxurious element of fat.  The with is focused  yet ethereal with lifted earth notes in the finish where it wraps up dry.  ***(*) 2018 – 2022.

2014 Viñateros Bravos, Canto a lo Divino Cinsault, Itata Valley – $20
Imported by Ripe Wine Imports. This wine is 100% Cinsault sourced from 60 year old vines on basalt soils.  It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 12.8%.  A light cranberry color.  The wine smells like fresh pine trees.  It is finely textured in the mouth with dry, red fruit.  The body is quite round with a touch of fat though it remains lithe through the mouth.  *** Now – 2019.

2015 Pedro Parra y Familia, Imaginador Cinsault, Itata Valley – $20
Imported by Ripe Wine Imports.  This wine is a field blend of 80% Cinsault with some Muscat, Semillon, and Pais and 20% Carignan  sourced from 71-110 year old vines on red quartzic granite soils.  It was raised on both cement and stainless steel.  Alcohol 14%.  A medium purple ruby.  This is a ripe, fruity wine with a lively underpinning.  It is for up-front drinking, packed with mouth filling flavors, spices, and a weighty, puckering finish.  It becomes drier with gum coating tannins in the aftertaste.  **(*) Now – 2018.

An interesting trio of reds from Garage Wine Co

Upon returning from MacArthur Beverages with the latest selections brought in by Phil, I diligently packed my bottles into the wine fridge.  That same evening I pulled out the 2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #45, Sauzal Vineyard, Maule Valley and 2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #47, Truquilemu Vineyard, Maule Valley.  Unlike the 2011 vintage, this pair from 2013 is decidedly locked down.  I recorked the bottles for the next night.

Had I not tried these bottles a second time I never would have determined why my hands became covered with dark yellow marks as if attacked by a giant Crayon.  I had completely ignored the yellow waxes capsules as I was solely focused on coaxing flavors out of my glasses.  Of the two Lot wines #45 never gave up much, even after three nights.  Lot #47 reveals good potential.  It is a higher-toned, red fruited wine with almost puckering acidity.  Coupled with good body and weight this wine will certainly develop over the next several years.  It truly requires this time so you should bury these bottles.

It is the least expensive offering that I am most excited about.  The 2016 Garage Wine Co., Pais, Second Salvo Ferment, Secano Interior exudes grapey, young, mouth filling flavors.  Additional personality comes from the pastille and mineral notes.   These flavors are in contrast to Luyt’s extremely old-vine Pais which is a bit too spritzy and yeasty for my preferences.  The Second Salvo Ferment Pais is meant to be drunk right now with your friends.  It provides instantaneous satisfaction and if you can only purchase one of these wines then this is the one to get.

2016 Garage Wine Co., Pais, Second Salvo Ferment, Secano Interior – $20
Imported by Elixir Wine Group.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a young, fruity wine with very fine, grapey extract for texture.  It becomes more focused with air mixing pastilles and minerals with the black fruited finish.  It slides down the throat leaving lingering sensation of texture. ***(*) Now – 2018.


2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #45, Sauzal Vineyard, Maule Valley – $34
Imported by Elixir Wine Group.  This wine is a field-blend of Carignan, Garnacha, and Mataro.  Alcohol 13.2%.  There is a good, Carignan driven nose.  In the mouth this is an impressively structured wine with watering acidity, dry fruit, and a certain amount of powdery dry tannins.  It is somewhat expansive yet ultimately tight such that the flavors come across shorter due to the structure.  *** 2020-2030.


2013 Garage Wine Co., Lot #47, Truquilemu Vineyard, Maule Valley – $34
Imported by Elixir Wine Group.  This wine is a field-blend of Carignan and Mataro.  Alcohol 14%.  The scented nose moves on to higher-toned flavors coming from a core of dense, powdery tart red fruit over black fruit.  There is just a hint of wood box already with almost puckering acidity.  It is clear that the good weight, good body, and perfumed fruit with bear out and benefit from a few years of age.  ***(*) 2019-2028.

A wine to buy this weekend

The 2014 Rogue Vine, El Insolente, Itate Valley  figuratively hits it out of the park.  This is an easily drinkable fruity wine yet it is quickly apparent that the flavors are serious and deep.  If the names Luyt and Garage Wine Co sound familiar then run to the store to purchase this latest offering from Rogue Vine.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Rogue Vine, El Insolente, Itate Valley – $27
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports.  This wine is 100% Carignan sourced from 60+ year old vines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This fruity wine rapidly becomes series and deep with ripe black fruit and minerals.  There is a vintage perfumed flavor and with air, meaty, animale notes.  This is very drinkable right now.  ***(*) Now – 2020.

The Brilliant 2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule

September 30, 2016 Leave a comment

After a particularly unpleasing bottle of 2014 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pais de Yumbel, a bit spritzy and high-toned as if it did not survive unsulphured transit, I was exceedingly pleased by a bottle of 2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule.    It was four years ago that Phil first introduced me to the wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt and indeed the first time I tried this vintage of Primavera.  Those four years have transformed this into a complex, attractive, and engaging wine.  My brother-in-law and I finished the bottle before we left the dinner table.  Need I write more? This wine was available at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  The nose is complex with aromas of leather and mulberry with bright berries breaking through.  In the mouth the juicy acidity immediately carries cedar and leather notes.  The wood box flavors complement the red and blue fruit evocative of a maturing Bordeaux.  There are still very fine drying tannins in the finish which is also when the flavors become drier.  It is like a hypothetical mash-up of a brighter, orange-citrus and red fruited claret.  **** Now – 2020.

Super [Duper] Itata Tinto from Chile

Some fantastic, completely original wine comes out of Chile and are made available in Washington, DC from time to time.  This short list includes the wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt and Derek Mossman’s Garage Wine Co.  I must now include Leo Erazo’s Rogue Wine Co.  Leo Erazo is a winemaker and viticulturalist at Altos Las Hormigas in Argentina.  The Rogue Wine Co. is a young project with partner Justin Decker that focuses on making wine from the Itata Valley in Chile.

The Itata Valley has been home to vines since the 16th century.  Today there are still old dry-farmed, bush vines dating back over 60 years of age.  These vines are located on hillsides where the soils are primarily granitic.  At Rogue Wine Co., the wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts, only see old wood, a little sulphur, and are not acidity corrected.  What you get are complex aromas, black fruit, and crunchy acidity.  This is a fresh wine but I cannot help but suspect it will be more relaxed and open come winter time.  Be sure to try a bottle now but also squirrel away a few more for later.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Rogue Vine, Super Itata Tinto, Itata Valley – $27
Imported by Brazos Wine Imports.  This wine is a blend of 33% Syrah, 33% Malbec, and 33% Carignan that was aged in old barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  There are complex aromas of smoke, tart black fruit, and vanilla.  In the mouth this fresh wine, bears similar black fruit with some wood notes and tangy grip.  The flavors are light yet expansive in the mouth.  The crunchy acidity is particularly attractive.  ***(*) Now – 2020.


A serious bottle of Carmenere from Chile

December 9, 2015 Leave a comment

The 2006 Vina Errazuriz, Kai, Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley has an interesting history, not only because Vina Errazuriz chose to produce a top-tier “icon” wine from Carmenere but for how the wine was released.  It was in 2010 that Vina Errazuriz sponsored a series of tastings pitting the 2006 Kai against other wines in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, New York, Stockholm, Tokyo, Toronto, and other cities.

These 2010 tastings were a recreation of “The Berlin Tasting” which Vina Errazuriz sponsored in 2004 with the help of Steven Spurrier.  You can of course guess that this was hoped to have the same effect on Chilean wine as the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” did for Californian wines.

The 2006 Kai was presented in blind tastings with other wines of the same vintage from California, France, and Italy.  At several tastings, when asked to pick their favorites, the critics chose the 2006 Kai over 2006 Haut Brion, 2006 Lafite-Rothschild, 2006 Opus One, and 2006 Sassicaia amongst others.  This makes for great press, as evidenced by all of the articles and posts out there, but the real interest is in how this wine tastes some five years later.

The 2006 Kai is a top-tier wine from Vina Errazuriz that still commands a healthy average price of $120 per bottle.  While you never lose the green streak of Carmenere and the hefty dose of new French oak, you cannot help but enjoy the mouthfilling flavors that are salty, dense, and inky.  It was a pleasurable wine to drink, it slowly evolved in the glass to offer up new flavors, and though a big wine, it never became fatiguing.  While I might not seek out this particular wine given the price, I certainly would not refuse a glass or three.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2006 Errazuriz, Kai, Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is a blend of 87% Carmenere with 9% Petit Verdot and  4% Syrah that was aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose always revealed some greenhouse hints to its fruit aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were filling with a dry middle, and an inky, purple fruited finish.  This modern wine, with its new oak flavors, is a little tart on the sides of the tongue.  With air it develops hints of tobacco, minerals, and a lipsticky finish.  It is attractively salty with impressive density and ripeness in the end.  **** Now – 2025.


Interesting wines from Chile, Greece, Moldova, Romania, and more!

There is no shortage of diversity in the wine selections available in Washington, DC.  If you can only try one wine in today’s post that should be the 2011 Garage Wine Co, Cabernet Franc Lot #36, Maipo Valley, Chile.  Garage Wine Co., produces attractive and unique wines.  While the Cabernet Franc appears to be sold out (the empty bottles were packed in the move so I am not timely) the Carignan is still available.  From Greece, I certainly recommend the orange citrus flavors of the 2011 Domaine Zafeirakis, Limniona, Thessaly, Greece.  Continuing with the indigenous vein then you should check out the exotic nose of the 2011 Hereditas, Babeasca Neagra, Romania.  Finally, the 2013 Pieter Cruythoff, Pinotage Middelpos, Swartland, South Africa offers bitters like flavors making it a Pinotage like no other. I’ll grant that it is a bit polarizing but any intrepid drinker should pick up a bottle.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Garage Wine Co, Carignan Lot #34, Maule Valley, Chile – $32
Imported by SWG Imports.  Alcohol 14.3%.  Aromas of raspberry candy made way to dense flavors with the texture of an unfiltered wine.  This showed more acidity with tart cherry flavor and red fruit through the end.  The wine built flavor with time showing both ripe and citric flavors including raspberry followed by a lipsticky finish.  *** Now – 2018.


2011 Garage Wine Co, Cabernet Franc Lot #36, Maipo Valley, Chile – $32
Imported by SWG Imports.  Alcohol 14.3%.  The raspberry aromas mixed with herbaceous notes and tobacco.  In the mouth were ripe and dense flavors that combined an herbaceous hint.  This savory wine had a lot of chewy flavors accented by chocolate before the not too bitter finish.  With air it showed complexity in the way of forest notes and perhaps tar.  ***(*) 2016-2022.


2013 Pieter Cruythoff, Pinotage Middelpos, Swartland, South Africa – $18
Imported by Kyslea Pere et Fils.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a complex nose of bitters and red fruit.  The aromas echoed in the mouth with ripe then dry, grippy flavors.  The structure came out as rather fine, drying tannins.  The wine was simultaneously tart, ripe, grippy, and creamy with greenhouse notes and cocktail bitters.  It morphed towards blue fruit in the finish.  Ultimately, the wine showed a ripe core of fruit surrounded by powdery, dry, and finely textured tannins.  Different! *** Now-2018.


2013 Et Cetera, Cuvee Rouge, Moldova – $19
Imported by Sarego Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Saperavi, and 5% Rara Neagra that was aged in Hungarian and American oak barrels. Alcohol 13.0%.  In the mouth were ripish, red fruit around a core of watering acidity.  As the wine progressed it came dry with black flavors, textured tannins, and a dry, graphite finish.  Overall this is a young that develops a strong nature.  ** Now – 2018.


2012 Groot Constantia, Shiraz, South Africa – $17
Imported by Indigo Wine Group.  Alcohol 14%.  There were smoky aromas of black fruit.  In the mouth the wine was tight with ripe flavors that built in strength.  The black fruit continued with some camphor and fresh, greenhouse notes.  This young wine textured, floral impressions.  ** Now 2019.


2011 Hereditas, Babeasca Neagra, Romania – $11
Imported by A&M Imports.  This wine is 100% Babeasca Neagra.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was different and exotic with both floral and citrus note.  In the mouth the dry, blue and black fruit was supported by a drying, black structure.  The wine was spritely on the tongue tip with some baking spices, young tannins on the gums, and good texture.  The finish was a bit short before the refreshing aftertaste.  ** Now-2017.


2013 Chateau Vartely, Sec Rosu, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moldova – $8
Imported by Salveto Imports.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose smelled of slightly inky bell peppers.  In the mouth were flavors of ripe, blue fruit, and green peppers.  With air the cool, blue fruit fleshed out a bit.  While not indicative of any particular place, it is a solid drink for the price.  * Now.


2011 Domaine Zafeirakis, Limniona, Thessaly, Greece – $20
Imported by Oenos LLC.  This wine is 100% Limniona.  Alcohol 13%.  The wine developed tart, red fruit with just a slight, liveliness on the tongue despite being acidity driven.  It developed a fine ripe set of light, orange-citrus flavors and black fruit that left impressions of ripeness on the gums.  The wine had a lighter, lift of creamy flavors towards the finish and ultimately, an attractive bit of ink.  **(*) 2016-2019.

Drinking by the Liter

We tried a pair of one Liter bottles over the long holiday period.  First was the 2013 Stift Kloster Neuburg, Grüner Veltliner, Hofkirchner.  The nose was amazing, from the very first glass to the last and this was closely followed by the flavors.  I did not recall the price until I started typing up this post.  At the equivalent of $10 per bottle this is shockingly good for the price.  The wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt continue to offer my favorite new perspective on Chile and the big bottle of 2014 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pipeño, Portezuelo continues the trend.  It is a fresh, balanced wine that leans towards blue and black fruit with minerals.  There is no hint of unsulphured danger.  The style of the wine and its low alcohol make this a serious, drinking wine that you should also try.  You will be pleased drinking both of these selections, whether it is during the workweek or after you have opened scores of them at a party.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 Stift Kloster Neuburg, Grüner Veltliner, Hofkirchner – $13 (1L)
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a killer nose right upon opening.  In the mouth were dry, floral pretty fruit flavors that were driven by acidity on the sides of the tongue.  The wine took on a nice, powdery ripeness to the fruit in the finish.  The shorter aftertaste still managed to offer a lipsticky, ripe lemon hint.  ** Now.


2014 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pipeño, Portezuelo – $18 (1L)
Imported by LDM Wines.  This wine is 100% Pais sourced from 150-200 year old vines located on granite and clay..  Alcohol 12%.  The nose bore serious youthful fruit aromas and fresh, floral spices.  In the mouth were blue and black fruit with minerals with a fresh, non-menthol, aspect.  There was a fresh, ripe structure supporting the almost dry flavors.  The wine wrapped up with a hint of tart, black fruit.  There might be some short-term development but why wait? This wine offers good, solid, pretty fun!  ** (almost ***) Now.


Highs and Lows from Louis-Antoine Luyt

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

The wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt can provide an experience that no other wine from Chile can.  The 2012 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Carignan, Trequilemu, Maule is one such example.  This was clearly not fined for the fine sediment dusted the neck of the bottle.  The lack of fining let every component contribute to this wine.  It was strongly aromatic and flavorful, immediately engaging in a way untypical for Carignan.  I had high hopes for the 2011 Louis-Antoine Luyt, El Pais de Quenenhuao, Maule which Erin Scala recently wrote about in her post Uvahuasa, El Pais de Quenenhuao 2001 (Cauquenes, Chile).  On the first night, my bottle was fairly tight with prominent spritz, an odd but enjoyable popcorn note, and that dreaded hint of Pilsner beer.  I saved the rest for the second night to let the flavors expand.  Instead, the spritz had disappeared but the wine became piercingly high-toned with prominent popcorn and Pilsner beer flavors.  It had self-destructed.  This was my first bad experience with Luyt’s wines so while important to note, do not let it put you off from trying his wine.  These wines were purchased at Weygandt Wines.


2012 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Carignan, Trequilemu, Maule – $28
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were lovely aromas of earthy berries and musk.  In the mouth the red fruit was balanced by both citric tartness and weight.  The harmonious citric flavors and tannins moved on to a long, earthy and tart aftertaste.  A wine to smell and drink.  *** Now-2018.


2011 Louis-Antoine Luyt, El Pais de Quenenhuao, Maule – $28
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 12.9%.   There were high-toned, unripe raspberry aromas.  The mouth showed a fair amount of spritz followed by a right core of tart red fruit.  There were notes of popcorn and a hint of Pilsner beer.  The second night there was wood polish on the nose followed by unpalatable flavors of Pilsner beer and a popcorn aftertaste.  Flawed/Poor.