This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday theme is hosted by Tim Lemke of Cheap Wine Ratings (“Good Value Makes Wine Taste Better”). The theme is affordable red wines from Chile (South America). Tim offers a nice overview of this theme in this post in his blog. I enjoy reading Cheap Wine Ratings as it relates more to my wine-buying reality at this point than, say, Unidentified Appellation. But I adore reading that blog too.
My most recent experience tasting red wines of Chile was at a tasting at Gordon’s Fine Wine and Liquors a few months ago of some of the wines of Viña Haras de Pirque, which is a gorgeous winery/horse stud farm in the Maipo Valley, Pirque subregion, Chile. We tasted mostly Cabernet Sauvignon wines that were probably more than $20 per bottle. They were tannic powerhouse wines suitable for aging.
For this Wine Blogging Wednesdsay, I chose from my wine unit the Viña Chocalan Carmenere Selección Maipo Valley 2006. This cost about $11.00 at one of my local wine stores. Carmenere is a grape that was confused with Merlot for quite a while in Chile. This wine received a score of 90/100 from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate (Jay Miller rating). I remember watching Gary Vaynerchuk who was not so impressed and gave the wine an 84/100 on Wine Library TV. So, how would I feel about this wine?
The answer to that question is: I feel that Gary’s tasting notes and review are spot-on and I know exactly where he is coming from. For me, this ended up being half a good wine experience. I found the color to be a beautiful dark cherry/plum, and the nose to be quite enchanting. The nose is a wonderful combination of wood, dirt, herbs, spice box, vanilla, and maybe even a little chocolate. The mid-palate is sort of like… watered down pepper. The wine goes in your mouth and there is just not a lot there. There is very little finish at all as well. I found this wine to be strange. How did the great nose turn into nothing on the palate? Well, at least it doesn’t interfere with food, is the best you can say.
I understand there are fine Reserva and Gran Reserva offerings from this winery that undoubtedly offer more oomph and I will surely try some of those at some point.
On Saturday November 15th 2008 I will be participating in another Twitter Taste LIVE event. Twitter Taste LIVE is the brainchild of the folks at Bin Ends Wine of Braintree, MA. Wine bloggers (and their guests) taste wines and post tasting notes, thoughts, and questions on social networking site Twitter at a predetermined date and time. The theme for event #5 is “The Bloggers Take Over.” Each blogger decides which wine or wines to taste and will post to Twitter. Others can purchase the same wine or wines and post along if they would like.
For this event I chose the 2005 Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Right Bank. I purchased this wine online a few months ago. I can’t say whom I purchased the wine from as I don’t want them to get in trouble from the interstate shipping police, or be subject to a wine.com sting. I purchased the wine for a number of reasons. I only purchased one bottle as it cost $42 plus shipping as I am of modest means. Firstly, I was just curious about any wine produced from the capable hands of Todd Anderson, he of Ghost Horse World cult winery fame. The wines at Ghost Horse World cost from $500 up to $5000 PER BOTTLE so obviously I am not going to ever purchase those. I mean, even if I won the lottery I would never spend that much money on a bottle of wine. I have previously perused the 27-page thread in Marc Squires Bulletin Board on eRobertParker.com (concerning the Ghost Horse World web site) and found it to be *wicked funny*. In his work at non-cult winery Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA, Todd Anderson produces quite a few very highly regarded wines included this Right Bank.
In Fact the 2005 Right Bank earned a 95-point rave from Robert Parker in Wine Advocate #174 December 2007. I’m an online subscriber so have access to the review but don’t want to get in copyright trouble by reprinting it, but I can say that Parker called it many nice things including a “total hedonistic turn-on”. Yeah, Baby! I’m up for some of that. In fact, I have never tasted anything rated above 92 by anyone, so this should be interesting.
Another thing that intrigues me about this wine is that it is a Château Cheval Blanc homage. Of course this is a Bordeaux Grand Cru that I would certainly like to taste some day but… in the mean time, I will be happy to try this American homage. Like the original, it is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with smaller percentages of other grapes. Miles in Sideways was obviously confused about the fact that his prize bottle of Cheval Blanc has a sizeable percentage of $%#@ Merlot in it.