article placeholder

2009 Baptiste Cuvelier Cuvée Del Maule

In 2009 the Cauquenes region of Chile suffered a terrible earthquake, and therein lies a tale of temblors and terroir. The earthquake wrought significant destruction there, and the winery did not go untouched. Barrels were thrown everywhere. Winemaker Baptiste Cuvelier picked from surviving barrels, and made the best blend possible from what survived, producing a startlingly good wine. All the grapes are fair trade and are grown organically. The wine is very well balanced, with good tannins and bright acids dancing together, promising significant cellar time. It is spicy, rich, and minty. The spice is black pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Richness comes from a blend of black and red fruits, blackcurrant, mulberry, and raspberry together, along with a bit of tobacco leaf and coffee. It also has a very interesting touch of mint, like the inside stripe of an Andes (get it?) mint without the chocolate. Vanilla from the wood makes an appearance on the mid-palate. Tannins are very sweet, the finish quite long. This is a surprisingly good wine, carved from a tragedy, and some of the proceeds will be returned to the region for ongoing earthquake relief. And it just tastes delicious. Highly recommended.
article placeholder

2008 Estampa Gold

Green aromas and flavors really dominate this wine. There is no mistaking the green pepper of Chilean Carmenere, or the tobacco leaf of Cabernet Franc. They appear on the palate, too, along with red currants and very tart cherries. Tannins are rather big and rough, but balanced by loads of acid. Tannins and acids will settle down over time, but as fruit fades green flavors will get even more dominant. Little hints of violets in the finish indicate some florals might shine through after a few years in the cellar. Drink with beef cazuela or ropa vieja.
article placeholder

2004 Carmen Winemaker’s Reserve Red – Maipo Valley, Chile

Slightly vegetal green hints are clear tell-tales of wine from Chile, but they do not overwhelm the nose. It also has loads of menthol, black fruit, and a touch of coconut. Blackberries, menthol, tobacco and green pepper are bound by tight tannins. The second night, it still shows telltale Chile-green. Tannins are smoother but the additional time brought the wood, rather than the fruit, to come to the fore. Vanilla and brown sugar overwhelm blackberries and blueberries in a green pepper cup. Not recommended.
article placeholder

Montes Purple Angel 2006

None-too-subtle oak. Very rich, naturally. Strong blueberry notes. Maybe too young; good acids on finish. One reviewer wrote, "one of the best Carmeneres available. If you don't think so, we're no longer friends." This is a big, deep, rich, powerful wine, Carmenere as good as it gets.