Archive for April 10th, 2013

April 10, 2013

Casa Silva Las Lingues Gran Reserva Carmenere, 2010

073Whenever we saw it on a menu we ordered it.  It was just that good.  We didn’t drink as much Carmenere as I expected, but of all the bottles and glasses we tried this was our favorite; maybe not the best, certainly not the cheapest or most expensive, but our favorite.

074

It was smooth, luscious, extremely food friendly, and big.  It had some spice like a Shiraz but if I was blindfolded and asked what I was drinking I would have guessed a smooth Cab Sauv.  Which seems, in Chile, to be the perfection of Carmenere, or, rather, when Carmenere is perfect: It has all the bigness of a Cab Sauv, some of the edge of a Shiraz, but drinks easier than either, more like Merlot.  We tried glasses of various Carmeneres that didn’t quite hit the mark, but this one was pitch perfect.  And as we tried it several times we saw how flexible it was, pairing with chicken, red meat, stews and braises (as per the ribs above) pasta and even a tapas platter.

 

Price: In restaurants, the cheapest we came across was $26.

 

Market Liquidity: Like an old friend.

April 10, 2013

J Bouchon Reserve Especial, Malbec 2010

007Chilean Malbec.  Seriously!  Yet another surprise in our two weeks in Chile.   It started with so much spice we thought of celery seed.  But with air that passed.  It had a deep licorice and dark berry nose.  It opened up beautifully and had notes of what Robert Parker loves, that oaky cherry nuance that sits on your tongue like butter.  It finished with just a whiff of vanilla.  It sipped beautifully.  With food it worked OK, quite well with meat but not so much with vegetables and cheese.

 

If this is what the Chileans could do with Malbec, en masse, watch out Argentina.  There is a lot of heft in this wine and it could go places Mendoza has only dreamed of.  But then again, try finding a bottle.

 

Price: Expensive in a restaurant, about $35.  But worth it.

 

Market Liquidity: The dark horse that takes it by a nose.

April 10, 2013

Montes Alpha Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc, 2012

montesMontes has a number of wines in the government and private stores in BC, all quite fine in their way.  We’d never seen a limited Sauv Bl, and jumped at the chance.  It was crisp, clean, green, very much like a Marlborough SB.  Totally likeable and no complaints.  It didn’t have quite the bite that many NZ bottles do and none of the subtlety of Sancerre, but if this was in the stores back home I’d jump at buying more.  And more.  Can I get a message to the import reps???

 

Price: In an expensive hotel restaurant $24, so obviously not that much retail.

 

Market Liquidity: Nice find.

April 10, 2013

Morande Gran Reserva Chardonnay, 2010

595Two weeks in Chile.

We took a spectacular lunch in the Casablanca valley at a restaurant that features numerous local vineyards (as opposed to a vineyard restaurant).  We drank several wines by the glass, and each had its merits, but nothing worked or tasted quite as well as the Morande chard with a lobster prawn risotto.  We bought a bottle and drank it later as a sipper, poolside in the Elqui Valley.

119

Above: Casa de Vins, Casablanca Valley.  Below: Lobster risotto, drenched in butter.

 126

So, mixed review.  With the risotto, which was rich and laden with butter, it had an exquisite citrus which cut through the oil and was a huge food complement.  It finished with a nice classic chard butterscotch but not blatant or heavy.  A big California chard would have been a disaster; this was lovely.

Then, later, as a hot afternoon sipper, it was simply too acidic.  Yes, it opened up, and with a bit of air and warmth had an easy drinking quality, but it simply didn’t drink at the level as with food.

Price: $12 at a vineyard rep.

Market Liquidity: Just right when just right.