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Chilean wine notes (for dchan)

post #1 of 3
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I guess this is the place to submit my wine tasting notes from last week's Valle Nevado trip. Please ignore any skiing references that slip in.

The one off-day where we did the 2 hour ride down to Santiago because we were too tired to ski in zero-visibility flat light and high winds after an epic waist-deep powder day, we did the vineyard tour at Concha y Torro. It was $4 entrance fee and you got a free wine glass with Concha y Torro on it. They fed us a middle grade Chardonnay that was processed in stainless steel vats and then flushed through oak chips. About like Fetzer Sundial. I drank it even though I don't like Chardonnay but I'm an alk. Then they poured us a "Devil's Cellar" (Diable C-something) that I think was a Cabernet Franc but I never got to see the lable and the armed guard pouring wine didn't look all that friendly. It had that funky rotted green grass taste you sometimes get in Cab Franc. I have some similar wine from Nichol Vineyard in the BC Okanagan. Once again, I drank it all even though it was a pretty lousy wine. They took us down in the cellar... filled with 50 gallon oak barrels that wouldn't quite fit in my ski boot bag. It looked like all other 100-year-old wine cellars around the world. Dirt floor, vast, brick's forming roman arches, French and American oak barrels everywhere. They fed us a Sauvignon Blanc that didn't have enough fruit. Once again, I drank it all. Then up to the gift shop where they fed us a Cab Sauv that was fairly decent. Once again, the Diable C-something lable. We left without buying anything.

At the Valle Nevado base village, there're 5 restaurants. We pretty much always ordered a wine called Casa Donoso 1810 (the year they revolted against Spain). Great for a relaxing dinner after skiing off-piste in untracked powder on sunny days (sadly, we only had 2 sunny days). It's a Cabernet/Carmenere blend and cost about twice $18.10 in the restaurant. We picked some up in Santiago for about $10.00. Undrinkable for the first 5 minutes but opened up nicely in the glass. Carmenere used to be popular in Bordeaux but was pretty much wiped out in the by Phylloxera in the 1800's. Chile somehow has been spared the infestation so they still have ancient european root stock instead of the American stuff the rest of the world uses.
post #2 of 3
interesting. Thanks for the notes.
FYI I just opened a bottle of 1997 Zaca Mesa black bear block Syrah.
Wonderful deep ruby/garnet in color.
Strawberry, black cherry fruit
mix of chocolate/vanilla and toast aroma with a hint of cedar.
full body dry almost chewey. med-high acid, nice round tannin and wonderful lingering aftertaste.

Pricey but worth it for a special occasion. it's about 40.00 retail, expect to pay 60+ in a restaurant.
post #3 of 3

Sounds good. I've been into experimenting more with some of the less popular varietals like Syrah and Petite Syrah. Got a flyer recently through ZAP and ordered a Barbera and a zin from Robert Biale. We had one of his Petite Syrah's ('97) on New Year's Eve at Pianeta in Truckee (we brought it in) and enjoyed it with friends. It went very well with the filet mignon that was one of the courses.
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