Wine52 goes to Chile
Skirting away from Hungary and moving to the South American continent, Wine52 are taking us on another World tour, this time in Chile. Specifically, this case focuses on the Maule Valley which lies towards the cooler, Southern end of Chile’s main wine regions. As a result, you can expect some good acidity in these wines. This region was, and still is a high-volume wine region, but has been garnering a recent reputation for quality. Trust Wine52 to scout the hottest spots!
One practice here that is thought to contribute to this rise in quality is “dry farming”. Essentially, no irrigation or additional water other than what the heavens provide can contribute to more concentrated grapes. Why? The vines have to focus their energy into grape growing rather than additional leaves and shoots. It’s a make the vines do the work philosophy, and it yields good results.
So, how are the wines in the latest case? From the wines I’ve selected to write about today, hopefully you’ll see that this is a case not to be missed. Indeed, with Xmas on the horizon what is stopping you getting this FREE case of wine, many of which will pair with your Xmas lunch perfectly?
Digna De Riquezas Merlot
In all honesty, I am not usually a singular varietal Merlot person, finding it to be bland and underwhelming unless you’re willing to fork out about £3k for a Chateau Petrus. However, ever-willing to test my beliefs, I felt I had to include this wine.
The aromas had a distinct tomato leaf smell, reminiscent of many good quality Bordeaux wines which was a nice start. The red fruit I was expecting certainly was there, like plum, cherry and cranberry but these were then lifted by streaks of vanilla which followed shortly after. For me, not a bad start at all.
The first thing you’ll find on the palate is how velvety smooth it is. It really goes down too easily you might argue. This is partly helped by the fact that the tannin is pretty low, but it also tastes rather good and well balanced. The most pronounced thing on the palate is the lovely vanilla edge, not too strong but not so subtle as to barely notice it. It is balanced just right. The red fruits themselves are admittedly simple but very pleasant regardless making this a great evening sipper. Finally, a tangible zip of acidity keeps it light and refreshing on the finish. I think true Merlot lovers will adore this.
A cool climate Chardonnay is never a bad thing. The Sereno is aptly named for it’s pure fruit expression and serene nature. On the nose it is a lovely citrus bomb with green apple, lemon zest, greengage, lime and a bit of melon too. It smells very bright indeed.
The palate is no disappointment! That bright citrus carries on through and the pure fruit flavour really shines. Crisp acidity further adds to this light and zesty character making it as refreshing as it is tasty. One thing I was most impressed by was that despite these components of high acidity and clean fruit, it somehow had a creamy mouthfeel, helping draw together Chardonnay lovers on both ends of the spectrum
El Escape Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
Now Cab is a grape I can get behind more excitedly! I think the only Cab I’ve absolutely hated was an Aussie one from Coonawara which tasted pretty much entirely of peppermint. That flavour came as a bit of a shock at the time. This Cab, and many others I’ve since learnt do often have elements of menthol/eucalyptus/peppermint due to the herbaceous nature of the grape but when in a more controlled, gentle fashion really add to the wine, as in this one.
The nose kicks off with a rich, dark undertone of chocolate and charred oak. This is supported by a dark fruit forward mainstay helping add to the depth. Blackberries, black cherries and blackcurrant are most clear to me followed by the faintest hint of menthol. As said, something I'm not usually keen on in Cab but the gentler note on this one works rather well.
The palate displays a good bit of weight and fine-grained tannin. The fruit is again in the darker realms as are the oak influenced tones of smoke and charred wood. A dash of vanilla and wood spice appear too. Finely poised acidity and again that slightest touch of menthol on the finish leaves you feeling fresh despite the weightier components of the wine. This would be a great match for steak and the like.
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Updated 11th December 2023