Wine Group Lesson 16 ~ Chile & Argentina

Posted by on August 5, 2011
Wines from Chile & Argentina

Wine from Chile and Argentina for wine group.

The Everyday Guide to Wine says:

Sommeliers will offer wines from Argentina and Chile by the glass, and they are incredible values for the money.

Wines for this lesson include: a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, a Carménère from Chile, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, a Torrontés from Argentina and a Malbec Argentina.

We had a much smaller group this time. It was a good thing too since it was so hot. If we had had more, we would’ve been so sweaty. Plus, we got to exchange a bit more “how did you meet” and “what have you done before in your life” type of history. And due to the small group size we all got to participate in the same conversation. None of my food pictures turned out very good this time except for the pickle plate.

Pretty pickle plate.

Pretty pickle plate.

Our wines included 2 whites and 3 reds, two of which were completely new grape varieties. Here’s what we tried:

2010 Natura Sauvignon Blanc, 100% Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99) (unoaked). Typical delicious smells of citrus fruit plus a bit grassy. Smells sweet but it is fairly high in acid and alcohol (13.5%) which makes it crisp and a bit zingy. Quick finish with a hint of floral. Oddly, it was good with dark chocolate.

2009 Root 1 Carménère, 90% Carménère, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah ($11.99) (10 months in oak). This was a brand new grape to us, as it is to most of the world. This grape was thought to be extinct after the Phylloxera plague in the late 1800’s wiped out most of Europe’s wine-grape stock. However, it was rediscovered in the mid 1990’s, growing along side Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile, hence the name of this wine, “Root 1.” As in, this is original root stock from Europe that has never been infected with Phylloxera. This red wine was very dark, smelled a bit of burnt coffee and dark cherry, was low in acid but high in tannin and alcohol (14%). Pretty intense. As Merlot is added to Cabernet Sauvignon to smooth it out, Cabernet Sauvignon is added to Carménère to smooth it out. If you like wine that packs a serious punch, you should try this one.

2009 De Martino Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.47)(some oak). Compared to the Carménère, this wine was very smooth. Tasted by itself later, the tannins were noticeably gripping. Scents included a hint of pepper, dark fruit and spice. Medium body, fairly smooth, paired well with Gorgonzola.

2009 Crios Torrontés, 100% Torrontés ($13.47)(unoaked). This was the second brand new grape of the evening (related to the Muscat grape) and it had a very unique characteristic: it smelled of coriander. It was really interesting. None of us had ever noticed that smell or taste in a wine before. It was a bit lemony smelling as well. In the mouth it was full bodied, smooth, medium acid, and was fairly high in alcohol (13.5%). Most of us agreed that we would buy this wine again.

2010 Gascon Malbec, 95% Malbec, 5% Shiraz ($13.67)(American and French oak). This red had hints of dark fruit like cherry, plum and blackberry. It had medium to firm tannins, med-full body and had an interesting aftertaste of mocha and bramble. Seemed like it should be good with chocolate but it wasn’t.

Lots of surprises tonight from brand new grapes to odd pairings. Overall, it seemed the whites were more well received: both bottles of white were gone by the end of the evening but all three bottles of red had some left over.

Next time we are off to Australia! Cheers!


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