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.
Green, rough, bitter—for a hard-working grape, carignan shoulders an awful lot of insults. And it’s true the prolific variety, traditionally used in reds from France’s Languedoc region, has produced a lot of undistinguished wine.
A very black cherry nose, with lots of fruit. Also on the palate and in the finish. Very mild tannins and a bit of earthiness in the flavor. But with food the fruitiness is moderated and the tannins are enhanced. In fact, this wine is more balanced when consumed with dinner than before the meal. A nice accompaniment to meat and potatoes. It’s worth mentioning that this wine is made from grapevines that were not grafted onto American rootstock. This means that you can taste what wine would have been like before the phylloxera epidemic decimated European vines in the late 19th century—essentially, the same as it is today. I’ve always wondered what that would be like...
On a misty spring morning in the vineyards of Chile’s Leyda Valley I’m glad of my fleece jacket. It’s probably in the low 60s today, cold enough to make me appreciate the piping hot seafood chowderViña Leyda is serving to our group of U.S. writers invited to tour the region.
Starts with an aroma of sunny meadow. Flavors of ripe Granny Smith apple with a kick of ginger. Very fresh with good acidity, would pair well with roasted vegetables or a creamy, cheese-y casserole. This delicate white wine is somewhere in between a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc, creamier than the latter but lighter than the former.