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.