Wines of Chile held a fabulous tasting of the Syrah and Pinot Noir Varietals that this country produces, 4 of each. In general all of the wines were very good, some outstanding, a few great. Here are my evaluations of what we tasted:
- VALDIVIESO RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2009 (CASABLANCA VALLEY, $16.99
I found this wine to be pleasing and quite good, though a little light in both body and color. There are other Pinots from Chile in this price range that are much superior, however.
- VINA CASABLANCA NIMBUS ESTATE PINOT NOIR (CASABLANCA VALLEY, $19.99)
Deep in purple tones, this wine has good body and is well balanced. I found its texture excellent with many of the tonalities typical of good Chilean Pinots.
- VERAMONTE RITUAL PINOT NOIR 2009 (CASABLANCA VALLEY, $19.99)
This was one of the more interesting experiences of the night. At first, I found the ritual to be tart and having a short, unpleasing finish. However, when I came back to it later, after having tasted all 8 wines, I found it to be quite smooth, with major finesse, and a long pleasing finish. It actually turned out to be one of the best of the night. Curiously, 3 days later I was having dinner at one of my son’s house in NYC and he pulled out a Ritual to have with pizza and salad!! It was really fabulous. I am now a fan. An outstanding wine for sure.
- CONO SUR OCIO PINOT NOIR 2008 (CASABLANCA VALLEY, $65.00)
In my mind, Ocio was unquestionably the best wine of the night and is the best wine Cono Sur produces. It is a great wine and can stand up to wines 10 times its price from the best of France. It may not be DRC but it is a terrific version; long in the finish, smooth like silk, and with an individualistic offering of mild spices.
- TAMAYA SYRAH RESERVA 2009 (LIMARI VALLEY ($ 17.99)
Subtly round, with good balance and a smooth finish. An outstanding wine, without being overwhelming, I found its medium body very pleasing.
- LOMA LARGA SYRAH 2006 (CASABLANCA VALLEY, $29.00)
This boutique winery is one of my favorites. All of their wines possess tremendous subtlety and style. The Syrah is a very special version, French in style, and quite complex for this varietal. I found it to be very sensuous and delicious. There are less than 1000 cases made so it is a privilege to drink it. This is a great wine.
- UNDURRAGA T.H. SYRAH 2009 (LEYDA VALLEY, $24.99)
This Syrah is quite different in style from the others, in part because Leyda Valley has a different climate, in part because the winemaker paves his own trail. I found it to be terrific in every way, body, aroma, and finish. A wonderful wine and a rewarding experience.
- HACIENDA ARAUCANO RESERVA SYRAH (LOLOI VALLEY ($13.00)