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  • Writer's pictureToronto Vintners Club

Chile - Reinventing the Bordeaux Blend, Mar. '15

Today Chilean reds are considered some of the best in the world. In January 2004 at what became known as the Berlin Tasting featuring 2000 and 2001 vintages (this tasting was fashioned along the lines of the Judgement of Paris pitting French Bordeaux against California), Chilean reds took 1st, 2nd place beating out Ch Lafite Rothschild and Ch Margaux. Second place went to Chile’s Viña Seña, one of the wines in our lineup. In 9th place was Don Maximiano, another wine in our tasting, which beat Ch Latour. In 2011, Chilean wineries earned a total of 206 gold metals from 10 prominent international competitions. Consistency is the hallmark of great wine making and the vintages from our Chilean tasting event demonstrate the world class quality of these wines. Our 5 different vintages are rated as “Excellent” to “Outstanding” by Robert Parker: 2005 – 90 pts; 2006 – 89 pts; 2007 – 88; 2009- 88 and 2010 – 90.

Toronto Vintners amassed some of the very best red wines from Chile for our tasting on March 17, 2015. The wines we purchased for our tasting have been influenced by Bordeaux techniques and blending styles highlighted by incredible craftsmanship and praise. Our guest speaker was Howard Kaman, Specialty Brands Manager at Charton Hobbs.


2007 Montes Alpha, Alpha M. Santa Cruz. $79 “Blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, with the balance Merlot and Petit Verdot aged for 18 months in new French oak. It exhibits a striking perfume of pain grille, pencil lead, herbs, spices, a hint of balsamic, and assorted black fruits. Dense, structured, and incipiently complex, this velvety textured wine conceals enough structure to evolve for another 5-6 years. It offers a drinking window extending from 2017 to 2027.” 94 pts Jay Miller, Feb. 2012, 2005 Altair Tinto. Cachapoal Valley. $ 42 “From a small, very classy winery focused on high end blends only, this combines 85% cab sauvignon with syrah and carmenere. It’s a super rich red with a saturated nose of cassis/rhubarb jam, mincemeat and chocolate fudge. It’s full bodied, very dense, soft and supple with great fruit. Chilean to its core. Excellent to outstanding length. It should age well for a decade but it’s not a requirement for enjoying it. (They need to lose the overweight bottle). Best 2012 to 2020. Tasted February 2011. 94 pts.” David Lawrasson, 2010 Santa Rita, Casa Real. Maipo. $60 Cabernet Sauvignon. “After a rooty, spicy opening that includes aromas of tree bark, leather, marzipan and ripe berry fruits, this perennial winner shows superb balance, mouthfeel and overall integration. Flavors of cassis, cherry, plum, dry spice and chocolate finish long, lightly herbal and with complexities. Drink through 2020. 93 pts.” Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, Dec. 31, 2013 2009 Viña Errázuriz, Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, Aconcagua Valley. $80 “Bblend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carmenere, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc from the Maximiano vineyard, aged for 20 months in new French oak. It has a more elegant, fresher nose than the 2008 with a red rather than black fruit profile: wild strawberry, raspberry, kirsch and a touch of shortcake. The palate is medium-bodied with finer tannins than the 2008, with ripe graphite infused black fruit and a masculine, tannic finish that is still continuing to show too much oak in proportion to the fruit. Drink 2015-2022. 88 pts.” Neal Martin. 2007 Concha y Toro, Don Melchor, Puente Alto. $80 “Blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc aged in French oak (78% new) and one-year old oak. It has a rounded, smooth tobacco and cedar scented bouquet with plush red fruit. The palate is full-bodied with chalky tannins, smoky black tarry fruit and a reserved, slightly austere finish with dark chocolate lingering on the aftertaste. It has Old World sensibility and is well crafted. Drink now-2016. 90 pts.” Neal Martin. #204, Dec. 2012 2007 Cousiño-Macul, Lota. Maipo. Blend $ 87 “Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. The “LOTA” project started in 2003, when the Cousiño family decided to create a world class wine to celebrate the 150th anniversary. “The 2007 Lota, again raised entirely in new French oak, has a ripe blueberry and cassis nose augmented by orange zest and shoe polish. There seems to be a little more volatility here. The palate is sweet and peppery on the entry. It has ripe, plump tannins, plenty of spicy fruit and aniseed. It is endowed with a dense, oaky finish that is balanced and clean, offering a sweet kirsch-tinged aftertaste. Drink 2015-2025. 88 pts.” Neal Martin. #204, Dec. 2012 2006 Perez Cruz, Quelen Special Selection. $49 “. . . blend of Petit Verdot, Cot (Malbec), and Carmenere. It offers up an inviting nose of licorice, tar, espresso, black cherry, and blackberry. Dense, rich, and muscular on the palate, this is a large-scaled effort with impeccable balance and exceptional length. It will require 4-6 years of additional cellaring to reveal its full potential but has the balance to become something special.” 94 pts”. Jay Miller,, #192, Dec. 2010 2007 Viña Seña, Aroncagua Valley. $85 “57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carmenere, 12% Merlot, with the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It puts forth an enthralling bouquet of sandalwood, underbrush, exotic spices, incense, floral notes, blueberry, and blackcurrant that borders on kinky. Already remarkably complex on the palate, with layered flavors, a plush palate feel, and precision balance, this beautifully rendered offering will evolve for another 6-8 years and provide a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2032. 96 pts.” Jay Miller,, #192, Dec. 2010

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