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Wine Blogging Wednesday #52: Chilean Red Wine Taste-Off 

The theme for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Cheap Wine Ratings, is Value Reds from Chile.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a Chilean wine so I was looking forward to the weekend shopping trip.  Although there were plenty of great Chilean reds under the $20 price point, I was really surprised by the number of high dollar Chilean reds available – I guess I need to get out more.  I picked up these two wines at Total Wine L (had to stop by there in the name of convenience – will return to the ‘neighborhood’ shop next shopping trip).

For this month’s WBW, my wife and I choose a Cab and Carmenere for the evenings taste-off.  As best as I can recall, this is the first Carmenere that I’ve had so thanks to Cheap Wine Ratings for this month’s theme. 

chilean-red-wineCasa Silva 2006 Carmenere Reserva

Casa Silva, situated in the Colchagua Valley, was founded in 1892 and is owned by Mario Silva – a fifth generation winemaker.  Prior to 1997 Casa Silva sold its juice to bulk wineries and has received a lot of positive attention since focusing on producing their own wines.     $13.99 – Real cork closure – Dark purple color.  Great nose – very sweet, but sweet in a good way – Coffee/espresso/mocha aroma wafted from the glass along with blueberries and baked plum.  The chocolate powder and sweet dark fruit in the mouth worked well even with the strong tannins.  Also picked up a slight pepper component on the finish as well.  My wife and I both really enjoyed this wine and will definitely try other Chilean Carmeneres in the future.  For 14 bucks this wine is a great value!

BrisAndes 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley

$9.99  – synthetic cork – 14% alcohol.  Since the BrisAndes brand is owned by Lafite Rothschild my expectations were high for this Cab.  I found this wine a bit tight at first with hints of bell pepper and tomato on the nose.  I put this one in the decanter for about an hour to let it open up and unwind – afterwards I found dark berries with spice and slight hints of bell pepper still lingering.  Hot in the mouth and on the finish, which overpowered the fruit.  I found this wine unbalanced – definitely did not throw my hair back and didn’t make it on our ‘buy again’ list. 

Our overwhelming favorite for this taste-off was the Casa Silva Carmenere.  We are new fans of Carmenere!  Again, great theme for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday.

As an adjunct to the Chilean reds I had at home this weekend, I had a chance to taste another last night.  My travels this week take me to Orlando and St. Lois and a chance to catch up with some colleagues that I haven’t seen in a while.  We all gathered in the hotel lobby for pizza and wine.  My choice for the evening… a Chilean red under $20 of course.

de-martino1  De Martino 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon 

$18.99 at Micheal’s Fine Wine & Spirits in the Avalon section of Orlando – real cork closure – Reddish purple color.  This wine is made from organically grown grapes in the Maipo Valley and is blended with Malbec and our new friend Carmenere.  The grapes are certified by BCS Oko-Garantie (no clue as to the significance of that).  Much like the BrisAndes Cab, I picked up a vegetal component on the nose and got more of that mocha/chocolate dust that I picked up in the Casa Silva Carmenere.  I’m beginning to wonder if the carmenere grape has been cross bred with cocoa beans.  Really amazing how pronounced the cocoa component is.  Medium to heavy mouth feel and solid tannins which were matched well with blueberries and that same chocolate component in the mouth. (another crappy photo – i really have to get better at taking photos or get a better camera)

My overall conclusion from this WBW… Carmenere is excellent … and Casa Silva is  a great value red from Chile!