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Chilcas & Chilensis in IWC’s Chile Focus

Focus on Chile

by Josh Raynolds
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
February 2014

Slowly but surely, Chile has been gaining respect for producing more than just a handful of world-class wines. But based on my tastings for this article, the country is still a ways off from reaching a critical mass of producers who are serious about making truly distinctly wines – as opposed to well-made but essentially anonymous wines that offer solid value. There’s also the challenge of getting diehard Eurocentric wine lovers to open their minds and give the wines a shot, but that’s another topic that will likely be a struggle for some time to come…

2011 Pais Single Vineyard Maule Valley (25% new oak): Light, bright red, pungent, earthy redcurrant, cherry and rose aromas, with a spicy topnote adding vivacity. Light-bodied and refreshingly brisk on the palate, offering juicy red fruit flavors and a hint of blood orange. Lithe and pinot-like in character, finishing clean, racy and tight, with no obvious tannins and good spicy persistence. 88 pts

2010 Lazuli Red Wine Maule Valley ($24) (36% cabernet sauvignon, 21% malbec, 16% petit verdot, 10% merlot, 9% syrah and 8% carmenere): Brilliant ruby. A wild smoke- and spice-accented bouquet evokes dried cherry, cassis, cured meat and licorice. In a gamey, Old World style, offering sweet dark fruit flavors and suggestions of beef jerky, chewing tobacco and candied flowers. The silky yet penetrating finish is given shape by smooth, well-knit tannins. 88

2009 Lazuli Red Wine Maule Valley ($24) (50% syrah, 19% merlot, 14% cabernet franc, 8% carmenere, 5% malbec and 4% petit verdot): Dark ruby. More civilized on the nose than the wild 2009 rendition, displaying fresh red and dark berry aromas and notes of dark chocolate and cedar. On the palate, spicy black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors are complicated by an emerging note of spicy herbs. Closes taut and lively, with soft tannins coming on late. This is drinking nicely right now. 89

Also recommended: 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Maule Valley (87), 2011 Chardonnay Reserva Maule Valley (86).

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