The Carmenere grape is considered by many as Chile’s happy mistake. The grape was widely planted in Bordeaux before phylloxera (microscopic pests that destroy grapevines). It was supposed to produce excellent wine, but it ripened late and was susceptible to coulure, a natural condition that can produce extremely low yields. After phylloxera, it was not replanted and interestingly enough, hardly any Carmenere can be found today in Bordeaux. That might have been the last word on Carmenere, had some French scientists visiting Chile in the early 1990s not been troubled by the appearance and character of Chilean merlot. Further studies revealed that in fact much of the Merlot planted in Chile was actually Carmenere! For whatever reason, the Chilean wine industry was phylloxera-free in the late 19th century, and to this day phylloxera has not been found there. And with that, Carmenere has become Chile’s signature grape! The deepest, darkest, purplest of all red grapes needs a long growing season to reach its fullest potential. This Limited Edition vintage from Perez Cruz is rich in berry fruits and spice (think blackberries and black pepper), with smooth, well-rounded tannins, making this a very pleasing and easy to drink varietal. It earned 5 stars in Decanter Magazine and had a low production rate of 6,500 cases. With aromas of ripe red fruit, licorice, and mocha, this wine certainly has special character. It is well structured in the mouth and will definitely not leave you hanging – it’s long finish is superb! Enjoy it with red meats and corn-based dishes, such as Chile’s favorite pastel de choclo (corn and meat pie), or take advantage of its natural spiciness and serve it with Indian curry or a Mexican mole.
2nd RedPerez Cruz Limited Edition Cot - $21.99(2009, Maipo Alto Valley, Chile)
Never heard of the “Cot” varietal?? Sure you have - generally it is known as a Malbec, which Argentinian winemakers have made their signature grape. It is the traditional grape of France and used in a supporting role in the great Bordeaux wines, but given a distinctive Chilean flair. Perez Cruz’s version is outstanding. This Limited Edition wine was rated 89 pts in the Robert Parkers Wine Advocate! It is silky and complex with an undercurrent of lavender, mint and white pepper that enlivens the sweet fruit. The Cot of Chile may be genetically identical to the Malbec of Argentina, but they are not the same thing. Malbec is inky and animalistic, but this Cot is fresh, floral and elegant. With this limited edition juice you’re getting grapes that were hand picked during the second week of April, looking for the right tannin and flavor. After a careful crushing they were subject to cold soak maceration for four days, then hand pumped to extract soft tannins. Total period of maceration was 30 days, with a total barrel ageing of 14 months in French oak. Extremely elegant, with aromas of sun ripe berries, sustained by a spicy and slightly toasty background. The wine is well-balanced, fresh in the beginning, round, warm and spicy on the tongue, with ripe tannins and a juicy, mineral salty after-taste. Total case production of just 4,000.
3rd RedPerez Cruz Syrah Reserva Limited Edition - $21.99(2009, Maipo Alto Valley, Chile)
This is one grand Syrah! Gaining 92 pts in the Robert Parkers Wine Advocate, you'll experience what tastes like a lovely hybrid between the Shiraz of Australia and the Syrah of France — a generous, fruity red with bite and agility. Composed of 91% Syrah and 9% Carmenere. Aromas of smoke carry from the nose into mellow flavours of pepper, peppermint and plum. Although it has a rich nose of ripe red fruit and spice, it reveals a lovely floral undertone. This Syrah has a generously structured palate with a tremendous finish. It was aged French oak for 16 months, with total production of only 3,000 cases. Perez Cruz knocked it out of the park with this one! At the Syrah du Monde, the international competition of the best Syrah in the world, it took home a silver medal! This wine comes highly acclaimed in the eye of the experts.
1st WhiteCasa del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc Reserva - $16.99(2010, Casablanca Valley, Chile)
A 100% Sauvignon Blanc out of the Casablanca Valley and in the Top 100 of Wine Enthusiast! Casas del Bosque is located 70 km from Santiago, the capital of Chile, and 30 km from one of the principal ports of Chile, Valparaiso. It was conceived in 1993 to be a family boutique winery exclusively oriented to the production of high quality wines. Casas del Bosque has its own vineyards in the Casablanca Valley, a privileged place for premium wine production. A big strength of their wine is that vines are 100% pure and each grape has its own vineyard. This 2010 Reserve has a herbaceous nose, in addition to spicy aromas of lime pith, green apple and white pepper. Racy in the mouth, offering incisive citrus flavors and a lashing of mint. Finishes on the firm side with impressive clarity and spicy persistence. I really like this wine's uncompromising character! Pairs perfectly with scallops, shrimp, & refreshing salads.
2nd WhiteCasa del Bosque Chardonnay Reserva - $16.99(2010, Casablanca Valley, Chile)
This 100% Chardonnay also comes from Casas del Bosque. Founded by Juan Cuneo Solari, the son of an Italian immigrant, the name of the vineyard means "Houses of the Woods" named after the abandoned houses in the ancient pine and poplar woods. They were the first to develop vineyards in the Casablanca Valley. This fantastic Chardonnay was aged first in stainless steel tanks and then transferred to used and new French oak barrels for 25-40 days to balance the richness of the fruit with the elegance of the oak. On the nose you will get some papaya, almond, and peach. In the mouth a citrus backbone is fleshed-out by ample mineral notes finishing with a very subtle smoky, woody note. Pair this with a smashing salmon dish and you will be in culinary heaven!
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