"Chile? I don't even need to taste the wine. You can just stick a bottle up my arse and I can tell you where the wine's from."
--Andre Van Rensburg (interview in Decanter 11/08)
A rather provocative statement. Rensburg, a South African wine maker, certainly has nothing good to say about the wines of Chile. Yet are his words accurate? Every region has its bad wines but every region has good ones as well. There has been plenty of press lately about value wines from South America, including Chile. Plus, a Chilean wine was recently announced as the #1 wine of 2008 by Wine Spectator. So the views of Rensburg are not held by all.
How do the wines of Chile really taste? Well, you will be able to read plenty of reviews today as bloggers across the globe participate in Wine Blogging Wednesday #52, which concentrates on Value Reds from Chile.
Tim of Cheap Wine Ratings is this month's host and chose the theme. The rules were simple, choose any red wine from Chile for $20 or less. It was even better if you found a wine for $10. You also got extra points for a wine from one of the lesser known regions such as Bío Bío, Elqui, Itata, Limarí, Malleco or San Antonio.
My choice was the 2006 Montes Syrah Alpha ($16.99) which is from Colchagua Valley of Chile. The wine is primarily Syrah but has 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Viognier. It also sees twelve months in French oak (though unsure how much is new oak). This wine had a dark red color with a strong nose of black cherry, vanilla and leather. It is a full bodied wine with a silky texture that easily slides across your palate and down your throat. A seductive wine with tastes of black cherry, cassis, vanilla, and a touch of almost cinnamon. The tannins are well integrated but this is still a wine that would benefit from being paired with food, maybe lamb or venison.
Overall, the style of this wine fell in the middle between a typical Australian Shiraz and a French Rhone. It was an interesting and enjoyable wine which I would recommend.
So my Chilean wine was a hit. Soar through the wine blogosphere today and find plenty of other Chilean reviews to see what everyone else thinks.