I’ve had the privilege of participating in the Wines of Chile blogger tasting the past three years. It’s always a great experience: 8 wines, bloggers from all over the world, plus a live video chat with winemakers ably MC’d by Fred Dexheimer. (And you can always count on my fellow bloggers to comment on the relative attractiveness of the winemakers as well as what celebrity they resemble. Naturally, I abstained from participating in these shenanigans.) I have to give Wines of Chile credit for acknowledging my insistent whining that Pinot Noir be a focus of the tasting, as they obliged me with a flight of four to begin the festivities:
- Valdivieso: Light and fresh with great acidity. A lively porch-pounder, lovely with a bit of a chill.
- Nimbus: Put this in the cellar; for around $20 retail, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more age-worthy wine to purchase by the case.
- Veramonte Ritual: Nice balance of fruit and tannin, though I wonder if the tannins (somewhat woody) will integrate with time. (Retasted the next day: tannins resolved.)
- Cono Sur Ocio: People were going nuts over this wine; it’s gorgeous, no doubt, but expensive: $65ish retail. (Though I’ve had dreadful Burgundy and sub-par California and Oregon Pinot for that price.)
Then we shifted gears and tackled four Syrahs:
Another impressive batch:
- After I adjusted to moving from Pinot to Syrah, enojyed the earthy richness of the Tamaya. A little too much earth at first (for me), but time in the glass helped significantly.
- The Loma Larga was a big bruiser of a Syrah that could go toe-to-toe with anything coming out of California or Washington.
- The Undurraga won my (someday-to-be-coveted) Wine of the Night award. I loved that it had great acidity and was not too weighty. Very balanced and Rhone-y.
- The Arucano was a lot of Syrah for a suggested $13 price tag. Hard to quibble with a rich, palate-coating red like this for under $15.
I must give special mention to the chutney provided by Puro Chile. The uniqueness of Myrtleberry combined with the Merken (a cumin and chile spice blend) gave it a sweet-and-spicy combination of flavors that went great with both the Syrahs and Pinots. I, alas, only had some bland crackers with which to accompany my chutney. Some of my fellow bloggers, however, went a little more upscale with a spread of great breadth. Behold the tweets that mocked me as I typed and tasted at my desk:
— Winnie Alberg (@winniealberg) April 13, 2011
And if that wasn’t enough:
— Mellissa (@fitnspicy) April 13, 2011
If I’m lucky enough to participate again next year, I’m RSVPing well in advance with Mellissa or Winnie. Mind if I stop by? I’ll bring 8 bottles of Chilean wine.
Full disclosure: The wine was provided free of charge by Wines of Chile.