De Martino Malbec ’06 for Wineblogging Wednesday #52

 Today is Wine blogging Wednesday (#52)!! Our mission, given to us by Cheapwineratings.com, was to pick a Chilean wine for under $20 bucks or value reds from Chile as they put it. With the exchange rate what it is now, we settled on a Chilean for under £14 (approximate, but with the pound sinking it might be less now).   At Oddbins we have quite a nice selection of  Chilean wines, both red and white but since my assignment was red, I went for the  De Martino Single Vineyard Malbec ’06 (£11.49),  from the  Maule Valley. De Martino pride themselves on travelling the length of Chile, choosing only the finest terroir to bring out the best of the chosen  varietal and employing expert consulants to make fantastic wines.  Marcelo Retamal, their winemaker, is a rising star in Chilean oenology and it shows. This  particular malbec vineyard is located in an isolated (and one of the driest) parts of the Maule valley with  granitic  soils and bush-trained 80 year old vines.  According to the website, the vineyard is run by one man  and his horse so I guess you could say there is minimal intervention in the production of  the wine. I think Chilean wines are amazing value for money and this malbec did nothing to dissuade me. On pouring it was a deep, intense garnet, almost inky – staring into it, it was impossible to see the bottom of the glass. On the nose first off, black fruits, concentrated cassis, and spices – a bit of nutmeg, hint of cinnamon, almost smelled like baking cookies with vanilla bobbing about and violet notes coming through on the tail of it all. I had to let it sit for a few minutes because I was interrupted but I was glad I did because the aromatic notes coming off were even more spicy now. Although they were not as intense, they had evolved into molasses and the the smells of rich mince pie. Perfect wine for Christmas.     Despite it being so rich on the nose, on the palate, it was...

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Almost time for Wineblogging Wednesday

Wine Blogging Wednesday is coming up once again. I love WBW. WBW is the chance for us bloggers from around the world get to get together and blog about a pre-determined wine. This month Cheapwineratings.com is hosting the blogging event and they’ve chosen Chile as their wine of the month. Chile has been sending some great stuff to England for some time now but in the States, it seems that they haven’t gotten as much exposure to Chilean wine as we have here. I’ve drunk and written about some great Chilean wines available here in London, ranging from Vina Leyda Pinot noir to Montes Alpha M and there are plenty of others available. Our task is to choose a wine priced below £14. That shouldn’t be too hard to do. I’m going to pick my wine tomorrow. Watch this space for my Chilean write up. All posts are due by Dec. 10th. If you want to join in, just follow the WBW link above. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Valdivieso Fireworks

Alcohol and a river cruise? Seeing as I’m somewhat prone to seasickness, I was a bit hesitant but since it was on the River Thames, I thought, what the hell. Valdivieso Wines of Chile and Bibendum joined up to host a cruise down the Thames for Guy Fawkes Day this week and what a cruise! Valdivieso was founded in 1879 and the first wines they produced were sparkling wines, so it was onlyfitting that we started off the night with their Extra brut. As we boarded the Silver Sturgeon at the Savoy Pier we were greeted by trays of the Valdivieso Firecracker, a cocktail of brandy, fresh morello cherries, cinnamon liquor and Valdivieso Extra Brut sparkling wine. Fantastic! It   was so easy to down a couple of those before dinner. Valdivieso were showcasing their Reserve wines for us and we sampled the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ’06, Reserve Viognier ’07, Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ’06 and the Reserve Syrah ’05. Notice how they prefer to call it Syrah as opposed to Shiraz. The whites were superb. I found the Reserve Sauvignon blanc ’06 to have plenty of tropical fruits on the nose and palate as well as a lovely herbaceousness to it, with a well rounded, almost silky body but with a crispiness to it that didn’t let me down at dinner. The Reserve Viognier ’07 was also well done. A fabulous floral nose, quite aromatic on a full bodied but not oily wine. The winemakers produced a well balanced wine with the ability to cleanse the palate while at the same time not losing any of the fruit characteristics of the varietal.  Both of these wines were great on their own but they really rose to the occasion with the fish pie served for dinner. The reds were no less impressive, although I thought the Reserve Syrah 05 was the standout of the evening. Chile is really beginning to make a name for itself with syrah and based on this liquid elixir, I can see why. A wonderfully spicy nose up front, typical black pepper notes...

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Montes Alpha M ’05, Folly ’05, and Purple Angel ’05

I went to a Montes tasting the other day at the Bluebird Wineshop. Montes is one of the iconic wines of Chile, having been written up extensively in various publications as well as getting rave reviews in the Wine Spectator and winning numerous industry awards. I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Montes started out in 1988 and was one of the few Chilean wineries to focus entirely on import production. 90% of their production was for export and England was one of the first markets to benefit from this policy. Today they produce over 5 million bottles and export to over 92 countries, not bad for only being in business 20 years. Montes is seeking to make the varietal Syrah the flagship grape of Chile. To this end, they presented their showcase wine, the Montes Folly, so named because the general consensus at the time they planted the vines was that they were crazy to try and produce a premium wine made from Syrah. We sampled the 100% syrah ’05 Montes Folly. It opened with a full-on black fruit nose, juicy blackcurrants and blackberries predominating, with a tantalizing earthy minerality lingering in the air. It was fresh and lively, bright black cherries, morello cherries and again that earthy minerality shining through on a nicely balanced, clean, crisp wine. It didn’t have the big fruity jamminess that many people associate with new world shiraz. And to differenciate themselves a bit more from the pack, they call the grape syrah (as they do in France) as opposed to shiraz (as they do in the new world i.e., Australia, US, etc). The wine that everyone knows is the iconic Montes Alpha M. We tasted the ’05 M. Composed of 85% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot and 5%petite verdot, this lovely is produced from a single vineyard at low yields and aged for one year in new french oak barrels. It had a deeply fruity, intense nose, blackcurrant leaping out of the glass with new...

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No Burgundy Clones here – Viña Leyda P. Noir ’07

Last week we tried a new Pinot that arrived in the shop – Viña Leyda Pinot Noir, Las Brisas Vineyard, 2007. I like a good Burgundy any day but I keep an open mind to the New World, especially when it comes to Pinot Noir. I’ve had some great stuff from New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest. There is a difference, no doubt, but I think that good producers of pinot noir in the New World do their best to stamp their own identity on the  wine rather then try and make a Burgundy clone. The Leyda pinot noir is made with fruit sourced from a single vineyard, Las Brisas. Brisas means breeze in Spanish and this vineyard is situated on the southwest slope of the estate, where there is less direct sunlight and more exposure to the ocean breeze, which keeps the grapes cool and allows them to develop slowly. When I opened this one, the first thing that hit me was a rather fruity attack to my nose and I hadn’t even poured it yet! This wine had a full-on nose of red cherries, ripe strawberries and raspberries. After a minute or so, we began to detect spicy notes and hints of bramble,wild herbs and a subtle smokiness. The wine spent 8 months in used French oak barrels, which was apparent but not overbearing. On tasting it, I thought it had a juicy, mouthwatering palate of ripe red berries, cherry and bramble with a bit of smokiness. A silky, medium bodied number with a hint of minerality on the finish. Despite the fact that the alcohol level was 14%, the alcohol didn’t assault my palate or nostrils. This wine had jumping acidity and was great on it’s own but I’m not sure if it was necessarily food friendly. I had some chicken with it and it didn’t really add anything to my enjoyment of dinner. This is a very fruity wine but it’s not subtle. And that’s the difference between Old and...

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