Episode #68 Wines of Chile
Eight winemakers in Santiago Chile, one Master Sommelier in New York City, fifty-one bloggers scattered all across the country, all unified through the technology of video chat and twitter. Wines of Chile organized this massive tasting to bring awareness to Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Chile’s seven wine regions stretch the massive 2600 mile length of the icicle shaped country. With a variety of terroir, the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Chile offers a climate for every vine. From WoC info – “Even today, Chile remains the world’s only wine-producing country to be entirely free of phylloxera” (an aphid type pest that feasts on grape leaves and roots causing significant destruction.)
Why would Wines of Chile reach out to 51 non-traditional media? Is the influence of 51 bloggers worthy of sending 34 cases of wine at a potential retail cost of $7000 (not to mention the added cost of technology, hiring the host, arranging eight wine makers to meet, and shipping). Cost of an event like this could run upwards of $10,000! For me the impressive part is trying to analyze the potential impact that the initial tweet storm / chat generates and then how far of a reach the potential blog posts and future references / recommendations will have. As blogs are written and shared through Twitter, Facebook, etc., the potential reach could easily exceed one million people. This effort, combined with traditional media reinforces the brand and creates a consumer acceptance of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. Brilliant use of Social Media!
This tasting video is done differently than most of my others. Watching me swirl, sniff, sip through 8 wines could get pretty tedious (not to mention lengthy). I tried to edit the video so you could capture the essence of the event. Refer to the NectarView below for the official tasting notes and scores. Each of the wines presents a very similar swirl and they are all from the 2009 vintage at
Very special thanks to Fred Dexheimer, Master Sommelier, for being a very gracious, patient and knowledgeable host for the event! Follow him on Twitter @FredDexMS. To view the entire Twitter transcript, click here.
2009 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva
- The Stuff: 100% Sauv Blanc from Casablanca Valley; 13.5% abv
- The Swirl: Very pale yellow straw color
- The Sniff: Citrus and minerality on the nose with mild effervescence
- The Sip: Citrus, Kiwi, Lime, minerality and moderately tart. The acidity is slightly off balanced but the wine remains a nice crisp drinker.
- The Score: At $11, this is a fantastic deal and definitely a wine to consider for seafood, spicy dishes, and poolside sipping. I can score this a 3+ out of 5
2009 Ventisquero Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauv Blanc from Casablanca Valley; 13.5% abv; cork
- The Swirl: Very pale yellow straw color, hints of green apple
- The Sniff: Slight vegetal elements with a good amount of grapefruit and white tropical flowers
- The Sip: Fruit attack is mellow orange blossoms that open up to minerality and crisp acidity. Well balanced flavors with coy nuances that provide lasting interest.
- The Score: At $17, this is a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. It provides the traditional flavor profiles while maintaining a crisp balanced acidity. I score this a 3+ out of 5
2009 Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley; 13.5%abv; screwcap
- The Swirl: Very pale yellow straw color
- The Sniff: Green peppers, chilies and honeydew melon on the nose
- The Sip: The fruit on the T.H. is melon, lime and chilies. Blogger, swirlsmellslurp wrote “Chiles, honeydew melon, and a tequila shot with lime and salt.” I agree with their assessment. Big acidity makes the whole thing feel slightly disjointed to me. Screams for food!
- The Score: At $16 the flavors are intriguing and complex. The acidity on the back end throws it off a little. I can score this a solid 3 out of 5 with the warning to pair with food!
2009 Valdivieso Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley; 13.5%abv, wild fermentation with no added yeast. Barrel aged in large French oak for 6 months; cork
- The Swirl: Yellow apple color with hints of pale green
- The Sniff: A dramatic departure from the traditional citrus Sauv Blanc, this wine jumps out with sour orange, herbs, and a sugary sherry smell (almost like a port). A yeasty break component rounded out the aromas.
- The Sip: Funky yeast, bell peppers, and a strong herbaciousness make this a distinctively different wine. Some palates may enjoy the flavor profile because of its unique presentation. If you’re looking for a traditional Sauv Blanc, this is not it.
- The Score: At $22, this is an out of character Sauv Blanc. I give it a score of 2 out of 5. The profile is off, disjointed and out of balance. That, coupled with the higher price for its variety, brings the score down.
Many people during the tasting indicated thoughts of an off bottle. Across the board the wine was definitely intended to be crafted in this way.
2009 Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley; 13.7%abv; screwcap
- The Swirl: Traditional mellow yellow pale Sauv Blanc color
- The Sniff: Floral and lemon peel with a hint of earthy grass
- The Sip: A very focused bi-dimensional flavor profile with only grapefruit and green peppers coming through. The wine is very well balanced with a good acidity and quickly diminishing finish.
- The Score: At $20, I can give this wine a 3 out of 5. It’s a good wine, but there is nothing spectacular about it. At the price range, this only comes across as an average offering.
2009 Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% organically grown Sauv Blanc from the San Antonio Valley; 13.5%abv; screwcap
- The Swirl: Very pale yellow green color
- The Sniff: Very tight on the nose with only slight floral blossom and citrus present
- The Sip: What was lacking on the aroma comes out to gently play on the palate. The Cono Sur is what you would expect from a traditional Sauv Blanc. Tropical fruit, pineapple, good minerality. Wine blogger, winefoot, described this wine as a grassfield creamsickle. I couldn’t agree more.
- The Score: At only $13, this classic presentation of Sauv Blanc showcases the potential of this Chilean variety. I score this wine a 4 out of 5. Easily the best value Sauv Blanc I’ve had in a while!
2009 Haras de Pirque Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Estate Sauvignon Blanc; 13.0%abv; cork
- The Swirl: Light yellow gold tones
- The Sniff: Light flower and citrus. This wine does not open up on the nose. It seems to be wearing a long sleeve turtle neck on a hot day.
- The Sip: Subtle tones of melon and lemon lime. Very singular focused flavor profile. Strong acidity that desires food.
- The Score: At $12 this is a wine that provides good value and doesn’t have any off putting flavors. Because it lacks anything significant, I can only score it a 3 out of 5.
2009 Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Colchagua Valley; 13.5%abv; screw cap
- The Swirl: Pale yellow straw and green apple
- The Sniff: This wine is a smack in the nose with grapefruit, pineapple, and other citrus. Take too deep of a sniff and you’ll burn your nose
- The Sip: A full on drink of dry crisp grapefruit and lemon. Tart finish with medium acidity. A mild hint of minerality on the finish
- The Score: $23; If you like grapefruits, you’ll score this high, but for an overall score of the balance of the wine in comparison to like varietal characteristics, I can only score this a 3 out of 5.
The overall synopsis for me is that seven of the eight wines displayed Sauv Blanc varietal tendencies of citrus, grass, bell pepper, and acid. Four of the eight wines presented very good values and flavor profiles. My favorites were wines 1, 2 and 6.