Archive for the 'Chilean Wine' Category

Wine – 2004 Casa Viva Pinot Noir

Sean’s been on a Pinot roll of late, so I thought I’d add to the mix with one that can only be described as surprising.

We first tasted this one during out WSET II course and all but two of the twenty-four in the room picked this one over a $60 Domain Drouhin Pinot in a blind tasting. This is one of those wines that temporarily makes you questions your palate for a second before jumping up and rushing to the store to buy all they have.

Plain and simple, this is a delicious glass of wine with absolutely astonishing value. The first swirl is full of ripe cherry and strawberry with a bit of green stalk. As soon as it hits your tongue, you get more cherry, some earth minerality and great light acidity and toasty pepper through the finish. In general this wine is nicely balanced straightforward and just darn tasty.

Get past the rather purple sparkly 80’s styling on the label and the fact that Chile isn’t a Pinot grower of renown and grab some of this. Summer beckons.

$13.56 at local liquor stores (imagine this would be $5-$6 in the US)

4 stars

No comments

2004 Terramater, Maipo Valley Zinfandel Shiraz

02162007.jpgChilean Zinfandel – now that’s a little different. However given the great wines coming from Chile of late, I thought: “let’s try it.”

The wine is a blend of 85% Zinfandel and 15% Shiraz. It’s deep and dark in colour with a tobacco leaf and briar nose. Nice start. From there the wine was interesting, yet not overwhelming. A body of plum, blueberry and a bit of date in the mouth which reflected the influence of both grapes. As the evening went on, the finish remained a little boozy with some raisin and soft oak, but brief.

Not bad on the whole. In general the fruit was pleasant, with the short finish being really the only slight drawback. This is another nice value.

$14.99 at Liberty Wine Merchants

3 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2002 Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon

01192007a.jpgOnce in a while I just get in a “once a day every day, give yourself a treat” mood… I always try to keep a few good bottles around and this one answered the call tonight.

The single-vineyard Don Melchor Cabernet (a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc) is consistently one of the top Chilean wines every year… and this vintage is a very good one.

The nose is incredibly complex and gorgeous. I stuffed my nose into the glass and was hit by so many aromas at once – leather, tobacco, black currants, dark berries and cherry syrup.

A sexy sip revealed distinctive coffee, brilliant black currant and dark berry fruit, a brown sugar syrupy edge as well as some mint.

When I have a wine like this, I remember what it is that makes me such a wine geek in the first place. This tastes of the place where it was grown. It’s so distinctive and incredibly delicious. It’s not a wine that hits you over the head with either tannin or fruit. It’s incredibly well-balanced and complex.

A treat? Absolutely!

No longer available here in BC. Usually retails for ~$60.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Anakena Ona Syrah

01192007.jpgI’ve been a bit delayed getting this wine onto the site. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago at the Mark Anthony Wine Shop in Shaughnessy.

I’ve had a few wines from Anakena recently (I loved their Riesling) and have been very impressed with their value-for-the-money ratio.

OK, back to the wine – In the glass, it had a great dark purple-red colour, a peppered cherry/raspberry candy nose with a camp-fire wood edge. The flavour is all cherry and blackberry fruit with a dose of pepper. This wine is more old-world Rhone-style than say a slutty Aussie Shiraz and is very well-balanced for a Syrah with 14% booze. It’s a seriously tasty drop and is a very good value for the money.

It’s perfect for the cool and stormy weather we’ve been having here in Vancouver.

~$25 in private wine shops here in BC.

4 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Matetic Syrah San Antonio EQ

01072007.jpgThis is one I’ve been meaning to try for a while… I loved their Pinot Noir and both Wine Spectator and Decanter gave it a rousing thumbs-up (it made Dictator’s Top 100 for 2006 at #99).

The colour was great – deep, dark red. After a couple of hours in the decanter, it was still pretty tight – a lot of the “Oak MonsterGary loves to mention over at Wine Library TV – and there was a lot of heat on the nose (it has 14% booze). That did seem to subside over the next hour.

What emerged was outstanding. It was like a bacon-wrapped, peppered steak in a cherry/plum reduction sauce. It was all there – the bacon, the beef, the pepper and certainly the fruit (cherry, plum & black currant). The nose and flavours of the wine were really in synch and very complex.

There were enough tannins backing it up to show this is a wine that could really use some time in the cellar (or closet, or wherever you try to hide bottles away). Fantastic stuff!

$45 – 50 here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2004 Anakena Riesling, Rapel Valley, Single Vineyard

12312006a.jpgWow… another wine find. I love a good Riesling, so Matt at Kitsilano Wine Cellars recommended this while I was in grabbing my Champagne(s) for New Year’s.

I opened it with some Thai food and loved it. It’s pale straw-coloured and the nose is all citrus and mineral notes… and when it hits your taste buds, there’s an explosion of floral-laced citrus fruit (lime! lemon!), honey and a flinty minerality.

This is a very flavourful, complex wine… a helluva’ Riesling – the first I’ve tried from Chile. If there are more like this, I’ll be having a bunch more in the year ahead.

$21 in private wine shops (Kits Wine) here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

1 comment

Wine – 2005 Viña Leyda Pinot Noir Leyda Valley Lot 21

11242006.jpgI’m back to craving a good Pinot Noir lately, so I paid a visit to Kirk at Kitsilano Wine Cellars. I like his taste in wine and he has been spot-on with his Pinot recommendations.

Seriously it’s all Cinnamon spice on the nose along with ripe strawberry… and (I’m not kidding) a bit of orange peel. A bunch of almost sweet ripe fruit leads into a long, velvety finish. It literally lasts minutes. Seriously fantastic stuff.

This is a bad ass Pinot. There were only 250 cases made. Grab it if you can find it.

~$40 here in BC.

4 1/2 stars

No comments

Wine – 2003 Valdivieso Cabernet Franc Central Valley Single Vineyard Reserve

11232006.jpgMatt over at Kitsilano Wine Cellar recommended this. He’s a guy who is passionate about the vino, so I figured it was worth a shot.

Single vineyard? That’s almost always a good thing. It usually means older, and therefore, better quality grapes. Cabernet Franc? If done well, it’s a seriously under-appreciated grape. I had one years ago from Nelson Estates that blew me away… and one from Peju Province is up there in my list of all-time faves (it was so good I almost started importing wine into BC just to have it around). But Cabernet Franc, if unripe is just vegetal and bitter.

Not this one. Mmmmm… this is a seductive little Latin beauty. It’s dark and complex – minty espresso mixed with ripe dark cherry juice & bitter chocolate – and well structured. Whatever they’re doing down there in Chile (the Rapel Valley) is working for me. Tasty, tasty stuff.

~$30 in private wine shops

4 stars


Wine – 2004 Matetic Pinot Noir San Antonio EQ

10282006.jpgGorgeous – that’s the first word that comes to mind when describing this wine. It’s full of intense dark cherry fruit and has an edge of Zinfandel-like briar… The warm and prickly (slightly boozy) finish has bits of leather and black licorice and goes on for ages.

This wine is from Chile. For those of you out there who might say, “Chile??”, I say just give some of the great wines they’re making a try. Yes, they make some wines that kick ass down there and no, they won’t give you a headache any more than wines from anywhere else (flashbacks to my days listening to crazy theories from customers in the wine stores). Good wine is good wine. ‘Nuff said.

One note: this wine definitely needs some air before you start sipping and making noises of ecstasy. I had it open for an hour before I filled my glass and it just kept getting better the more time it spent in the decanter.

Like I said, this wine is gorgeous… It actually has a lot in common with the Belle Glos I reviewed last month. Hell I may have actually liked it more, and that’s saying something – Crazy good.

~$45 in private wine stores here in Vancouver.

4 1/2 stars


Wine – 2003 Amayna Chardonnay

Mmmmm-hmmm… this is good. This is one of the wines I tasted by chance at the Vancouver Wine Fest. Bloody good.

It’s from the Valle San Antonio-Leyda in Chile… Is it just me, or have I been loving a bunch of Chilean wines lately?.. A trip could be in order.

As with most Chards, it’s very important to drink this one near room temperature. I did. It’s full of tropical fruit and has a a full, healthy body… Mango, pineapple, orange, honey, almond, a warm minerally edge and a finish that lasts for at least a minute. This is a special Chardonnay.

Good wine makes me happy and right now I’m a very happy boy indeed.

$38 here in BC as a specialty order. 3,580 cases made.

4 stars
(… verging on 4.5)


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