Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Rapel Valley)
Nice bright fresh clean, nice tropical notes with some pear and peach. No green notes, plenty of broadness, a little fruit sweet, warmish compared to NZ.
Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2008
Nice structured focus, good finesse and length, very unjammy.
Clos Apalta 2009
Dark floral lavender nose, very rich black intensity. Very concentrated, huge depth of fruit, big bold and oaky, much longevity.
Clos Apalta winery
Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Casablanca Valley)
Lovely and herbaceous, nice concentration of fruit, very light and fresh, grapefruit and kumquat citrus.
Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2009 (Leyda Valley)
Rich and creamy, melons and peach. Textured, full, some sweet oak characters, fairly heavy malo character on the nose.
Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Maipo Valley)
Dark brooding cassis, nice toffee chocolate. Good texture and structure, very velvety tannins, sweet ripe spot and clean finish.
Triple C 2006 (Maipo Valley)
Earthy savoury aromas, leather and coffee. Intense and bright but softens on the palate, good chewy astringency, awesome finish.
Triple C 2007 (Maipo Valley)
Slightly leaner tighter lines, cigar box notes, good length, very young and a touch warm, fruit needs time to express.
Phuen 2007 (Apalta)
Hauntingly complex, totally unexpected, lovely dark and rich, balance and depth, best Chilean wine so far.
Santa Rita tasting
When I made the decision to take my 16 month wine odyssey I considered just travelling in Europe as the origin and bastian of wine in the world. However I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit North and South America to see what they were doing, as well as taking advantage of a round-the-world ticket. Little to any wine from these continents is imported into Australia because there isn’t much market for them. This is probably because the style and varieties are very similar to wines we make here and in New Zealand and therefore there isn’t much point importing them. As such I was very unfamiliar with regions and producers and had to do a lot of my own research. Information online was often hard to find and of those that I attempted to get in contact with, less than 50% responded to me at all.
Chile was particularly bad for this. Whilst every winery I found had generally great websites to visit and get information from, they seem to never read any emails sent to their general address! Or even worse they don’t bother replying at all. Amazingly when I sent an email to the general address for Neyen de Apalta – a modern icon of Chile in Colchagua – the email went directly to the Managing Director Jaime Rosello. In responding to me, Jaime was not only happy for me to visit Neyen, but he also informed me that he managed the Veramonte winery in Casablanca and I was welcome to visit him there beforehand. His generosity didn’t stop there as he proceeded to enquire where else I was going and contacting some of the many people he knows in the industry and helping make appointments on my behalf. One of the most genuine, humble and generous people I met on my trip, I sent him some questions recently so that I could know him better and here were his responses.
I tell you what, if it weren’t bad enough that Chilean wines are poised to bring the world to it’s knees, they are also poised to bring the world TO Chile, thanks to wine tourism. Whilst you can probably find some similar experiences in other countries, particularly in California where wine tourism is a billion dollar industry, there is nothing like the value of wine tourism here, and the sheer impact of the environment. Not to mention the fact that Chileans are genuinely warm and welcoming to others, whereas in most western countries hospitality is merely about tips and gloss. Hosts are knowledgeable, respectful, modest and engaging. At several times during my stay so far, and no more so than in Colchagua, did I say to myself “it doesn’t get better than this.”