7.8.09 South American Reds

11 07 2009

South American Rrreds

¡Hola chicos/chicas! South American vino has been making a splash in the U.S. market with reasonably priced wines from Chile, Argentina, and beyond. Less common like varietals like Torrontes, Carmenere, and Malbec (along with traditional Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Sauv Blanc) are hitting the market faster than Shakira can shake her hips. We tasted our hot red sexy reds on a classically freezing July evening in SF’s Alta Plaza park.

First, an 07 Casillero del Diablo Carmenere (Rapel Valley, Chile), $8. Katie thought it smelled “really awesome” with notes of spice and serrano chili. Nikki got cassis/blackcurrant, leather, and cocoa and Steph seconded the notion with chili chocolate, y’know, like Mexican chocolate. Yum. I noticed the beautiful crimson color along with a whiff of cherry pie filling.
The palate was smooth, really smooth as Nikki pointed out, with good acidity, and light red fruit. Collin also noted the light feel of the wine and found a raisiny flavor. Katie got smoke and spice. We  all agreed that the aromas were more enticing than the palate. Katie nailed it by mentioning how it started off strong but had a weak finish. Overall it was a soft, lighter red wine with good spice and not bad for a summer day.

An 07 Montes “Classic Series” Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley, Chile), $12, was next. Collin smelled leather and latex paint on the nose. Nikki chimed in and said it smelled like 6th grade art class, and red licorice. I got cherry lifesaver.

The palate had lots of spice with a black cherry finish. Again, a more exciting bouquet than taste. Steph noted a woodsy component, maybe oak, and wanted to drink this wine in the woods. Fair ‘nuf.

06 Cicchitti Malbec-based Bordeaux Blend, (Mendoza, Argentina)

Last was a 06 Cicchitti Malbec-based Bordeaux Blend, (Mendoza, Argentina), $16. Collin found the nose to smell more old world than new world. Nikki got black tea, darker cherry, earthy barnyardness (yeah, it’s a word now) and wet leaves. Steph got Marion berries and found it mulled smelling. I thought this wine was more complex on the nose than the previous two and got a cool savory/umami aroma along with a floral, potpurri, violet component.
Katie mentioned that the palate delivered higher acid than the previous two, I got red cherry. Not much else was found on the palate and this helped lead us to our overall impression: They smell better than they taste.
Still, we only sampled 3 wines and have high hopes for some South American vino with a little more pasion in the future. Salud

Alta Plaza Park

Alta Plaza Park




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