Sorry this is a bit late but I went to a Chilean wine tasting event and I wanted to talk about it so I held off writing. Now this wine post is going to be a bit different from the other ones you may be used to from me, where I just review wines. This time I really want to talk about Chile and the event, but I will still have great wines for you guys!
First Chile, a beautiful country. In my opinion, Chile is an underrated wine country and a terrific region for getting amazing wine for a great value. Since the country is basically a line that runs North and South, it has many climates and a moderating coastal breeze. Some of the vineyards have root stalks that are over a hundred years old and because Chile is currently still Phylloxera (an insect pest that eats the roots of vines) free, they can literally take the end of a vine, stick it in the ground and it will start its own root system. They then snip it and voila, you have a new vine. All of North America and most of Europe are infested with Phylloxera. Australia currently has isolated incidents, and so vines have to be grafted onto North American root stalks since they developed an immunity to Phylloxera.
Now to begin with the event! It was held at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in the Peter F. Bronfman Hall and had 26 wineries and 150 wines to try. The start of the event had a live Chilean culture dance performed by Grupo Chile Dance Co. I am unsure as to what the dance was about but it was great to see them dance their butts off. Then we were whisked away to the second floor where the tasting began to the music of Farrucas Latin Duo. There were many different styles of wine but there was a pattern I noticed; almost all the wineries used french oak. I asked one of the vendors why this was and he answered saying that they preferred one-year-old french oak because it helps add some tannins to the wine but it doesn’t overwhelm it with too many oaky flavours, keeping more of the juicy fruit characteristics. The main grape of Chile is the Carmenere, a similar style as merlot, and is almost exclusively grown in Chile. Fun fact, Carmenere was grown in Bordeaux and brought to Chile. This was originally thought to be merlot when it was first planted in Chile, which might have actually saved the grape from extinction when Phylloxera devastated the vineyards in Bordeaux.
There were a lot of great wines,but there were two wines that really stuck out for me. Alas they are not in the LCBO, but you could still private order through the LCBO.
The first one I really loved was the 2014 Carmenere from San Pedro which was so smooth and so well balanced. This wine had a full body with 14.5% alcohol, but because it was super well balanced you couldn’t feel a burn you would normally get from 14.5%. The wine was very juicy and had wonderful notes of blackberry, a few floral notes, smooth tannins and a long warm finish.
The second wine that really stood out to me was the 2014 valley selection syrah from Valdivieso. This syrah stood out to me from most because although it still had it’s spicy notes that are traditional in a syrah, it had more fresh blackberry notes complemented with soft oaky notes and vanilla.
I really enjoyed this wine event and I would be very happy to do it again. Chile is such an amazing and diverse country and has so much to offer.
Now here are two amazing wines from Chile that you can actually get at the LCBO.
Aresti Trisquel Sauvignon Blanc – $18.25
This wine was actually one of the wines I got to try at the tasting event and it really surprised me. Usually, sauvignon blanc aren’t too aromatic but this one was quite pronounced when I smelled it. The wine had beautiful notes of green bell pepper, asparagus, melon, citrus, grapefruit, and green apple, with a crisp acidity.
Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon – $18.95 (on sale $3 off $15.95 for a limited time)
This is one of the first wines I tried from Chile and is still one of my favorites. The wine is done in a Bordeaux style (if it were actually from France would be worth probably $25+) is full-bodied with notes of blackberry, black cherry, pepper, and black currants. This wine is very dry with soft tannins, juicy acidity that offers the wine good structure and balance. This wine is definitely worth the try, especially with $3 off.
Hope you enjoyed this month’s wine with me.
Thanks for reading!
E.F for B.I.T.C
Edited by Mary Ellen Monk