BEST WINES OF CHILE & ARGENTINA

BEST WINES OF CHILE & ARGENTINA image

By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 18 March 2017

 

WHITE

Chile Viognier The Wine SocietyCasablanca Valley, Chile:  CORTE IGNACIO VIOGNIER 2015 (£8.50 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)    STAR VALUE BUY
An incredibly rich intense textured Viognier for this price range.  Plenty of apricot and peach aromas mingling with buttery leesy undertones from 100% barrel ferment in a mix of 228 to 400 litre barrels.  A really impressive example made by the huge pioneering Concha y Toro firm, who have a very talented winemaker - Ignacio Recabarren.  Not an aperitif style, serve with a rich chicken or spicy seafood dish: 14.5%                                            


Cafayate, Argentina:  QUARA ESTATE TORRONTES 2015 (£9.99 Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews www.luvians.com; Michael Jobling Wines)
The best Torrontes comes from Salta’s high altitude Cafayete valley with plantings at 1,800 metres.  Classic nectarine, floral and honey notes with citric undertones – fresh, vivid and easy drinking made by the Lavaque family winery: 13.5%


San Antonio, Chile: MATETIC CORRALILLO SAN ANTONIO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 (£7.95 www.thewinesociety.com)
The Matetic winery is based in a stunning setting in Rosario valley, a sub-region of the San Antonio wine region.  The vineyards – all farmed organically - are all surrounded by acres of farmland.  Just inland from the coast, they benefit from cool ocean breezes so it is ideal here for the Sauvignon Blanc grape.  Juicy fresh green apple and grapefruit notes, savoury undertones – a very fresh appealing aperitif: 13.5%


Amalaya Torrontes Riesling Liberty WinesCalchaqui Valley, Argentina:  AMALAYA TORRONTES/RIESLING 2015 (£9.99 Aitken Wines; Cornelius Wine; Ellies Cellar; Exel Wines; Fountainhall Wines; Gloagburn Farm Shop; Henderson Wines; Lockett Bros; Luvians; Markinch Wine Gallery; St Andrews Wine; Peckham’s; Valhalla’s Goat; Valvona & Crolla; Vino Wine Shops)   STAR BUY
Bananas and lychee notes with a distinct smell of air-freshener on the, nose zippy freshness, a touch of sweetness but with a crisp dry finish.  An unusual unoaked blend of 85% Torrontes with 15% Riesling, grown in high altitude Calchaqui Valley in Salta.  These two grapes work quite well together combining their pungent perfumes and natural acidity.  A trophy winner at the Decanter Wine Awards.  Try with spiced prawns or lightly spiced Asian dish – or just as an unusual springtime aperitif: 13.5%


RED

Patagonia, Argentina:  VINALBA PATAGONIA MALBEC RESERVA 2014 (£12.49 Waitrose)
Patagonia in southern Argentina has a slightly cooler climate than central Mendoza, similar to the Northern Rhone in France.  Vinalba are one of my current favourite Argentine wineries, a multi-award winning winery capable of producing an amazing range of great value Malbecs from across the country.  This is an edgier version of Malbec with plummy ripe fruits, rich with chocolate and vanilla notes: 14.5%

Boya Pinot Noir Majestic WineLeyda Valley, Chile:  BOYA PINOT NOIR 2015 Garces Silva (£9.99/£11.99 Majestic Wine)    STAR BUY
This remote family-owned winery run by Matias Garces Silva in cool coastal Leyda valley in San Antonio region is located just 9 miles from the Pacific.  Well known for this stunning Syrah and Pinot Noir under their famous Amayna label, they have just launched this new six-month oak aged cherry fruited showing what great value Chilean Pinot Noir can be – winner of the best Chilean Pinot Noir under £15 Trophy at the Decanter Wine Awards: 13%


Elqui Valley, Chile:  FALERNIA CARMENERE RESERVA 2014 (£11.99 Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews; Field & Fawcett, Great Western Wine, Champion Wines)
From Chile’s most northerly wine estate in remote Elqui valley over 300 miles north of Santiago, an area once better known for growing Pisco grapes and now one of Chile’s most interesting semi-arid cool climate wine region.  A mix of rocky soils, cool microclimate (1,700 feet altitude), use of the ‘appassimento’ fruit drying method and American oak ageing has given this Carmenere a delicious figgy raisiny, sweet sour flavoured with a spice and liquorice undertone: 15%


Montes Outer Limits CGMColchagua Valley, Chile:  MONTES OUTER LIMITS WILD SLOPES CGM 2013 (£19.50 Woodwinters, Edinburgh & Bridge of Allan)   STAR BUY
A clever Mediterranean blend of Carignan (50%) with Grenache (30%) and Mourvedre (20%) by Colchagua’s leading vineyards, La Finca de Apalta owned by Montes.  Delicious blackberry and fig notes, smooth structure, toasty spicy from French oak ageing.  One of the more popular wines with our tasters: 14.5%


Patagonia, Argentina:  HUMBERTO CANALE CABERNET FRANC SELECCION DE FAMILIA 2013 (£16.99 Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews; Fine Wine Co, Musselburgh; Hailsham Cellars; Great Western Wine)
Ripe berried spicy jammy Cabernet Franc with a distinctly Old World feel to the palate with its elegance and restraint.  An interesting example of how good Cabernet Franc when ripened successfully and matured in a mix of French and American oak.  From the cool climate Valle de Rio Negro in Patagonia.  Match with roast lamb: 14%


Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina:  ZUCCARDI ‘EMMA’ BONARDA 2013 (£23.99 Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews; Alliance Wine, Ayrshire) One of Argentina’s best examples of the Bonarda grape. Not the same grape as the one found in Italy’s Piedmont, this is actually Douce Noir originating from Savoie in France (in California it is known as Charbono).  Zuccardi’s Bonarda tastes like a Malbec crossed with a Chianti with a baked fruit quality, heat to the palate, with coffee, cherry fruit and licquorice flavours and that characteristic Italianate hint of a bitter twist to the finish.  Not a sipping red, it needs food – rich pasta dish or mushroom risotto: 13.5%

 

De Martino Carignan Berry Bros & RuddMaule Valley, Chile:  DE MARTINO ‘VIGNO’ OLD VINE CARIGNAN 2012 (£23.95 Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com)    STAR BUY
Sourced from dry farmed organically grown old Carignan vines in southerly Maule, a valley once known for bulk wines.  Such an elegant example of Carignan, which has deep colour and high acidity so can often be tough and edgy in French examples, but in Maule valley these old vines have blossomed with intense ripe fruits and herby undertones.  From one of the closest Carignan vine plots to the Pacific Ocean first planted back in 1955: 13.5%


Limari Valley, Chile:  TABALI PEDREGOSO LIMARI SYRAH GRAN RESERVA 2013 (£12.99 Virgin Wines www.virginwines.co.uk)
Limari Valley north of Santiago is becoming well known as one of the best places to plant Syrah in Chile.  Tabali are expert winemakers making lush voluptuous fruit styles.  This Syrah is beautifully restrained, balanced with peppery undertones with pure fruit expression, it could almost be from the Northern Syrah in a hot vintage: 14%


Join Rose’s French Classics Fine Wine Tasting Dinner at Rhubarb, Prestonfield on Thursday 11 May  www.rosemurraybrown.com