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2007 De Martino Las Cruces Single Vineyard Old Bush Vines

Winemaker Marcelo Retamal is developing a well deserved reputation as one of Chile’s visionaries, and this field blend red (made mostly from Malbec vines planted in the mid 1950s) shows why. This wine is the full package: tobacco smoke, meat, chocolate, dark plum, juicy and silky—which basically means that the tannins are rounder and approachable now. Focused, expressive, and sure to be empty at your dinner table in before-you-know-it timeframes.
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2007 Morandé Edición Limitada Carignan

Morandé’s winemaking director Pablo Morandé is often regarded as the godfather of Chile’s modern winemaking industry, and he’s not afraid of taking risky chances when the pay off is a result like this great wine, made from a variety that might have originated in Spain but is best known as the main ingredient in dark wines from France’s Languedoc region. Morandé’s Carignan is inky-dark, with intense blackberry action that’s kind of brambly, followed by plums, baking spices, herbs, and violets. It’s bold but smooth, has great balance as well as tons of character and concentration that actually seems to have a purpose. Chalk it up to the bush trained, dry farmed vineyards—planted in the 1950s by the grandfather of “the grandfather.”
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2010 Viña Leyda Single Vineyard Kadun Sauvignon Gris

Your first reaction is probably “what the hell is Sauvignon Gris?” Think of it as a good, cool climate Sauvignon Blanc (in its citrusy, tropical, and herbal aromatics) meets a good, cool climate Chardonnay (in its creamy structure and full body), with a lemon-rind finish thrown in for good measure. The cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean help this wine to retain its vibrant, acidic verve while still appealing to the Chardonnay lovers out there. Savuignon Gris might just be poised as the next “breakout” variety from South America.
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2009 Veramonte Pinot Noir Ritual

This rather large-bodied Pinot Noir has a label that says 14% alcohol, but a nose and sensation on the eyes that say 14.9%. It also shows cherries, dried strawberries, and sage. On the palate cherries and raspberries meet plenty of wood effects including vanilla, toast, and cinnamon. It also shows sage, marjoram, and a tiny hit of cayenne pepper. Tannins are big and a little dusty. Acids are a bit low compared to tannins and wood. The finish has some length, but ends up with an overwhelming sensation of new barrels. The glass half-full crowd would call this "a Pinot for people who don't like Pinot." The glass half-empty crowd would describe it as "a spoofilated Pinot wearing a Cali-Cab costume for Halloween." Drink it with fun-sized snickers and candy corn. Not recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Viña Casablanca Nimbus Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir

An interesting wine, an eye-opener for Chile's potential with pinot noir. This is big and sweet, more Russian River than Côte d'Or. A melange of red fruits—cherry, cranberry, and strawberry—are joined by marjoram, sage, a touch of charcoal, and the tiniest hint of cayenne pepper. The mouth feel is silky and rich, the tannins sweet, smooth, and just slightly dusty, with a good acid counter-balance. Drink with Cuban roast pork. Highly recommended.
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2009 Viña Casablanca Nimbus Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir

An interesting wine, an eye-opener for Chile's potential with pinot noir. This is big and sweet, more Russian River than Côte d'Or. A melange of red fruits—cherry, cranberry, and strawberry—are joined by marjoram, sage, a touch of charcoal, and the tiniest hint of cayenne pepper. The mouth feel is silky and rich, the tannins sweet, smooth, and just slightly dusty, with a good acid counter-balance. Drink with Cuban roast pork. Highly recommended.