Tasting No. 190 – July 31, 2017 – Rare Chilean Wines

Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Pedro Turina, Germán Zincke

Participants: Mario Aguilar, Jorge Claro, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Alberto Gómez, John Redwood, Orlando Mason, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sánchez, Ricardo Santiago, Ginger Smart, Pedro Turina, Germán Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Open

2. Tasting Overview

This tasting focuses on wines from Chile that are less known worldwide (i.e. the Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley), new wines from traditional regions (Pinot Noir from Bio Bio), wines produced according to artisan methods (including aging in clay amphorae) from 200 year old País grapevines introduced centuries ago by the missionaries and wines produced following strict biodynamic methods. These are the wines:

  1. 2015 Montes Spring Harvest ,  Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley
  2. 2015 Veranda, Pinot Noir, Bio Bio Valley
  3. 2013 González Bastías, País en Tinaja, País, Maule Valley
  4. 2012 Emiliana, Coyam, (Certified BioDynamic) Red Blend, Colchagua Valley

3. The Menu

  1. Lobster Bisque
  2. Portobello al forno
  3. Insalata di Pomodoro
  4. Filet mignon
  5. Dessert/Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from various internet sources) .

2015 Montes Spring Harvest, Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley

The Wine: “Montes Spring Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2015 is the first and freshest of the vintage, where the best possible grapes are harvested early and brought to market early. Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley in Chile is renowned for delivering world class freshness and minerality, and Montes produces the region’s best.” -Winery,

(Wine Enthusiast) Passion fruit, lettuce, grapefruit and tropical aromas get this Sauvignon Blanc off to a nice start. Zesty, speedy and super fresh on the palate, with blazing acidity, this tastes of passion fruit, green herbs and grass, especially on a racy, slightly pithy finish.

The Winery: (from Wine Searcher) Leyda Valley is a small sub-region of the San Antonio Valley wine region in Chile, located just 55 miles (90km) west of the Chilean capital, Santiago. This cool-climate region enjoys the effects of the cold Humboldt Current of the Pacific Ocean, and consequently produces bright, vibrant wines made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

This close proximity to the coast is what is driving growers to Leyda. Cold ocean breezes and morning fog moderate the overall temperatures, and the valley is therefore significantly cooler than its low latitude might suggest. These cool temperatures are complemented by warm sunshine during the long growing season, letting grapes ripen fully and develop complexity while still retaining acidity.

Leyda Valley’s soils are largely clay and loam over a granite base with moderate drainage. These low-fertility soils are good for the production of premium grapes because they make the vines struggle for survival. This results in vines that put all their energy into producing small, concentrated grapes rather than leafy foliage. Wines produced from these grapes tend to be structured and complex.

Read more at: https://www.monteswines.com/en/

 2015 Veranda Pinot Noir, Bio Bio Valley  

The Wine: Raspberry and cocoa aromas are dusty and subdued. A tight, tannic palate is driving, while flavors of citrus and red plum come with spice and oak notes. A spice component with sharp acidity carry onto a firm, chalky finish.

The Winery:  The Bío Bío is the southernmost wine producing valley in Chile. It has unique and distinctive characteristics for vine cultivation. It is situated 500 km. south of Santiago and 50 km. from the Pacific Ocean. It is noted for having a cold climate with moderate maximum temperatures which allow the grapes to mature slowly. It also has the perfect conditions to obtain highly aromatic berries, which are perfectly balanced with natural acidity. These conditions allow the wines to express their unique freshness and intense fruity aromas and elegance.

In order to create authentic wines, Veranda has developed a perfect combination: the French Burgundy experience given by its winemakers and the expression of all the potential that comes from the terroir. Through carefully selecting premium grapes from our terroir, Veranda has been able to achieve top quality standards, resulting, at the same time, in the creation of sublime wines.

2013 Gonzalez Bastías, País en Tinaja, País, Maule

The Wine:  This wine is 100% “pais” grape, originally called “Misión”.

( K&L) “The vines are primarily 200 year old (you read that correctly, 200 years old!) Mission vines, with a smattering of very old (but slightly less old) Moscatel Negra. Following harvest, this wine is literally hand pressed. Hands are used to press grapes through traditional bamboo canes (called “zarandas”), then the wine ferments in a small concrete tank. Here it is punched down multiple times a day, and then finally it is transferred to amphora where it ages until bottling. Aromas are sappy, with root beer and ripe red fruit intermingling with a foresty quality and powdered licorice. The flavors are juicy, very rich and yet still with good freshness. A certain influence, perhaps from the seeds, can be detected in this wine’s tannins as well, which further bolsters this fascinating handmade wine. (Joe Manekin, K&L Chilean wine buyer)”.

The Winery: González Bastías is a town, as well as a small, family owned winery in the western Maule Valley owned and operated by Jose Luis Bastias and Daniela Lorenzo.  The Maule Valley is well south of Santiago as well as the more familiar Chilean regions Maipo and Colchagua.   The vineyard itself consists of ten acres planted by Jose’s ancestors in the early 1800s, and he represents the fifth generation to farm these vineyards.  The story doesn’t sound all that unusual thus far, except that most folks don’t really think about Chile’s viticultural history as that old.  In reality, vines were introduced by the missionaries that accompanied the conquistadores, so the history goes back even further than the 1800s.

We’ll skip the history detail of the story, except that it is relevant in one respect.  Among the cuttings that the early missionaries brought to this part of the world (and later on to California as well) were ‘Mission grapes’, which in this part of the world is referred to as Pais. The two González Bastías wines we are offering today, from those 200-year-old vines, are made from 100% Pais.

This sandy, gravelly vineyard is located right by the Maule river. The area, less than 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean, is designated as a “secano costero” which means there is ‘no irrigation’.  Thus this vineyard depends on rain and underground water for its survival.  If you want to visit the winery, it is located midway between Talca and Constitución and you get there by taking a historic train known as the “Last Ramal” (declared a National Monument in 1997). The winery is right across the river from the González Bastías Station and the last part of the journey across the river to the winery is by boat. We’re not making this up.

Watch this interesting video to better understand how this rustic wine is made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEQMYj6uQ3s&feature=youtu.be

And watch a bit of the history of the Pais grape here (in Spanish): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4Un3VqZmcQ

Read more at (in Spanish but can use Google traslator to read in English): http://www.apuntesdesobremesa.cl/archivos/3491

 2012 Emiliana, Coyam, (Certified Biodynamic) Red Blend, Colchagua Valley

The Wine:  Winemaker’s Notes: The Emiliana Coyam displays intense dark violet-red color with aromas of ripe red and black fruits integrated with notes of spice, earth and a hint of vanilla. Beautifully balanced and full on the palate. Good structure with soft, round tannins. Elegant expressions of fruit delicately interwoven with oak, mineral, and toffee.

James Suckling – “Beautiful aromas of dark fruit, walnuts and almonds. Full body, extremely integrated tannins and a long caressing finish. A blend of 38% syrah with 31% carmenere, 19%merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 1% mourvedre and 1% malbec. A balanced and caressing textured red. Drink or hold.”

The Winery: (From Wine Searcher) Emiliana Organic Vineyards is a leading Chilean wine company and one of the foremost producers of certified organic and biodynamic wines in the world. It makes a large range of wines from classic Chilean grape varieties, including Carmenère,  Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The company has vineyards all over the country, covering nearly 1200 hectares (3000 acres) of lands in such famous wine regions as Colchagua, Maipo, and the Casablanca Valley.

In the vineyard, chickens are used for pest control, and alpacas and horses live alongside the vines to encourage biodiversity. There are also nurseries and biological corridors of native plants and trees, and cover crops of grasses and flowers between the vine rows. Across all vineyard and winery processes, various projects in energy efficiency, carbon emission reduction and waste management are employed, and environmentally friendly packaging is used.

Read more at: http://www.emiliana.cl/#home

4.  CV Members Rating


Participants ratings:

  • 2015 Montes Spring Harvest ,  Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley  –  $18 –Excellent
  • 2015 Veranda, Pinot Noir, Bio Bio Valley – $19 Good
  • 2013 González Bastías, País en Tinaja, País, Maule Valley –  $25 Very Good
  • 2012 Emiliana, Coyam, (Certified BioDynamic) Red Blend, Colchagua Valley – $39 Excellent

View full evaluation here: Summary of Tasting Scores Reunion 190 – 7-28-17


Best Rated: 2012 Emiliana, Coyam, (Certified Biodynamic) Red Blend, Colchagua Valley

Best Buy: 2015 Montes Spring Harvest, Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley


5. Technical Notes 

Read more about new Chilean wines here: http://www.vinous.com/articles/the-best-new-wines-from-chile-mar-2008

Read more about wine industry and regions in Chile here: https://clubvino1.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/chilean-wine1-1.pdf


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