Toronto Vintners Club
Virtual Tasting: Chile vs Argentina Cabernets
A South American showdown between these two powerhouse regions were our stage for this evening. If you were pairing with food then you were on the lookout for Asado-like foods - barbecued meats and hard cheeses. And these wines with their earthy, oak and spice elements did not disappoint!
We had another fantastic Sommelier and wine-tasting guide to take us through each of these eight reds. Emily Pearce from Femmes du Vin - an organisation promoting women’s voices in wine - joined us for the evening. She opened with a summary of the very different regions, geographies and grapes of these two countries and how the ocean and the Andes create a unique terroir that each country is beginning to explore.
Emily shared a number of unique insights throughout the evening and that make these TVC tastings so valuable to those of us still exploring the very basics of wine. Did you know for example, that following the initial “icon wines” releases of Chile and Argentina, winemakers are now pulling back on the oak to allow the terroir to speak? Ant that we are now beginning to really distinguish these wines from other New World Wines on the basis of their unique geography and climate. These will be regions to watch in coming years for sure!
Did you also know that ruby-purple red wines indicate 100% or more fully Cabernet grape wines rather than wines blended with other grapes? Or that Chilean cabernets are often blended with the Carménère grape, whilst Argentinian are more often blended with Malbec? For someone relatively new to these regions this was fascinating and had me noting down the names of the wine producers that I liked most of all to look up on LCBO, ready for my next visit.
Each of the eight wines in our blind tasting were swirled, sniffed and tasted by Emily, with rich descriptions of how you can feel the oak through ‘Darth Vader’ breathing (by breathing out loudly from the chest!), and how ‘deep-staining’ the wines were in colour and juice. These four Chilean and four Argentinian glasses truly captured the spirit of these wines with their very different styles and the tendency for, “some wines to yell, and some wines to whisper”.
To be so expertly guided through such a selection was worth every penny of my membership - thank you Emily!
Here were the scores for the night from our Guest Emily Pearce, and the Group:
The regions were evenly matched this evening with one favourite each from Chile (Emily's top wine of the evening and the group's third favourite), and Argentina (the group's top wine and Emily's second favourite). A re-match will be needed it seems...
See the original notice for the tasting notes for each of the wines: