Languedoc flavours from Chile
My strategy for tackling an enormous tasting like the annual trade tasting of Wines of Chile is to see what grape varieties there are with a Languedoc link, so I looked for the likes of Cinsault and Carignan, as well as Syrah and Grenache. And found wines from estates I already knew and made some new discoveries.
So in no particular order, as I tasted them
Bodega Volcanes de Chile
2019 Volcanes Tectonia Grenache Petite Sirah Mourvèdre, Valle Central
45% Grenache, 38% Petite Sirah, 17% Mourvèdre 14° ££££
Quite a deep colour. Quite a rounded nose. Some peppery cherry fruit, with a firm tannic streak. Medium weight, with some supple fleshy notes, and a youthful tannic edge.
2019 Volcanes Parinacota, Maule Valley
70% Syrah, 30% Carignan 14° ££££
Medium colour. Quite firm structured peppery fruit on the nose and palate, with a firm fresh tannic streak on the finish. A very successful combination of the two grape varieties.
2019 Tectonia Blend, Valle Central
45% Grenache, 38% Petite Sirah, 17% Mourvèdre 14% - £19.99
Good colour. Quite a firm nose, with a rounded palate, with ripe berry fruit and a balance of tannin.
2021 Crazy Rows Itata Valley
100% Moscatel 13.5° ££
Light colour. Lightly grapey. Fresh fruit and firm acidity on the palate, with a slightly bitter finish, typical of dry Muscat.
2020 Crazy Rows, Itata Valley
100% Cinsault 13.5°££
Quite a light colour. Quite a delicate, fragrant nose. On the palate fresh and fragrant, with a dry finish, with a streak of acidity as well as tannin.
Casas del Bosque
2019 Syrah Gran Reserva, Casablanca Valley Costa
100% Syrah 14.5 £££
Some delicious rounded red peppery fruit on nose and palate. Convincing example of the grape variety.
2018 Echeverria Syrah Gran Reserva, Los Lingues, Colchagua Valley, Andes
100% Syrah 14.5° £££
Quite a rounded nose, with spicy supple fruit on the palate, and a streak of tannin on the finish. Good balance.
2019 T.H. Syrah, Leyda Valley, Costa
100% Syrah 14° ££££
Deep young colour. Quite firm structured peppery fruit. Medium weight palate, with peppery fruit, balanced with a fresh tannic streak. Very youthful with ageing potential.
2019 Amayna Syrah, San Juan, Leyda Valley, Costa
100% Syrah, 14.5° ££££
Deep young colour. Quite firm fresh peppery fruit on both nose and palate. Youthful and structured. Great example of the varietal.
2018 Boya Syrah San Juan, Leyda Valley, Costa
100% Syrah 13.5° £££
Lighter colour than the previous wine. More peppery with a firmer grip. Tight knit fruit and tannins.
2020 Piedras Magicas Carignan, Licantén, Curicó Valley, Costa
100% Carignan. 14° £££
I did like the idea of magic stones. This was quite a sturdy, solid interpretation of Carignan but with some fresh fruit and a structured tannic streak. Some ageing potential. I was told that the wine had spent about 10-12 months in oak and that 20216 was the first vintage. La Roncière is a new project, with forest cleared in cooler areas, with lots of different plots with soil variations.
2019 Syrah, Licantén, Curicó Valley
85% Syrah with some Merlot
Deep colour. Quite a firm peppery nose, but with more flesh and weight on the palate, with black fruit as well as pepper. Nicely structured.
2019 Eloisa Carignan, Loncomilla Valley, Maule Valley, Entre Cordilleras
100% Carignan, 14° ££££
2019 was the first vintage of this wine. From 100 year old vines. 12 months in older barrels. Very young colour. Fresh red fruit on the nose. Fresh but ripe palate. Good balance with a refreshing acidity on the finish. Lovely example of an underrated grape variety.
2019 Aves del Sur Gran Reserva, Loncocmilla Valley, Maule Valley, Entre Cordilleras
100% Syrah 14.5° £££
2021 Montes Outer Limits CGM
Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Entre Cordilleras
50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre 14.5° ££££
Medium colour. Nicely spicy rounded nose and palate with supple tannins. The alcohol is well integrated and in balance. A lovely glass of wine.
2020 Montes Outer Limit Cinsault, Itata
100% Cinsault 14° £15.00
Medium colour. Fresh raspberry fruit on nose and palate. Lovely appealing freshness balanced with a streak of tannin. Nicely balanced. Delicious.
2019 Grenache – Carignan – Mourvèdre, Loncomilla Valley, Maule Valley, Entre Cordilleras
54% Grenache, 26% Carignan 20% Mourvèdre - 13.5°£££
Light colour and a surprisingly light palate, with some fruit and a tannic on the finish, after 12 months oak ageing. I would have expected more weight.
2019 Las Veletas Grenache, Carignan Mourvèdre, Maule
54% Grenache, 26% Carignan, 20% Mourvèdre 13° £18.00
Light colour. Quite a firm palate with a streak of tannin, but quite light weight, with some dry fruit. Youthful.
2019 Los Vascos Cromas Syrah, Peralillo, Colchagua Valley, Entre Cordilleras
100% Syrah 14.5° ££££
Youthful deep colour.
Quite firm and structured. Quite a tight knit palate with good spicy fruit. Youthful balance of fruit and tannin, with ageing potential. I liked it a lot. Amply illustrates Chile’s success with Syrah.
2020 MontGras de Vine Reserva Cinsault, Itata Valley
100% Cinsault 13.5° ££
Light red colour. Lovely fregrant fresh fruit on both nose and palate. Some raspberry notes, with a refreshing tannic streak.
2019 Morandé Vinos del Valle del Maule Cinsault – Pais
75% Cinsault 25% Pais
Light colour. A delicate nose with a nicely rounded palate. Ripe red fruit with a fresh finish. Medium weight. A very Chilean blend.
2018 Morandé Adventure
Loncomilla Valley, Maule Valley, Entre Cordilleras
87% Carignan, 13% Syrah 14° ££££
Medium colour. A firm closed nose, with an equally firm palate. With a touch of pepper and a tannic streak. Youthful. Needs more time.
Quebrada Seca, Limari Valley Costa
100% Syrah 15° ££££
Deep colour. Quite rounded ripe fruit o the nose. And on the palate blackcurrant gums. Ripe and fleshy, youthful and quite full-bodied as you might expect with 15°. 18 months oak ageing.
2019 Valdivieso Eclat Vigno
San Javier, Maule Valley, Entre Cordilleras
Vigno implies Carignan and this is pure Carignan. About nine months oak ageing. Good young colour. Firm fresh red fruit on both the nose and palate. Youthful and fresh. A lovely interpretation of the variety.
2021 Viu Manent Tiny Trial Cinsault
Guarilihue Itata Valley Entre Cordilleras
100% Cinsault 13°££££
Made by carbonic maceration. Light colour. Quite a delicate fresh nose, and on the palate fresh juicy fruit. Medium weight. Very appealing. A lovely example of the grape variety.
2021 Tiny Trial Cinsault, Itata
100% Cinsault, 13° £18.90
Bright young colour. Tasted immediately after Montes Cinsault. I found this lighter, with less tannin, but similar fragrant red fruit. Also very appealing.
Grey Glacier Garnacha, Cariñena, Mataro - or in other words, 59% Grenache, 22% Carignan and 19% Mourvèdre
Light red in colour. Light fruit nose and on the palate, some quite sturdy fruit, with a tannic edge and a pleasing note of rusticity. Characterful.
2021Carmen D.O. Loma Seca Cinsault
Itata Entre Cordilleras, 100% Cinsault, 13° £25.00
Light bright colour. Fresh fruit balanced by a firm streak of tannin. Medium weight. More body than some other Cinsault.
2020 Espiritu de Chile Intrépido Patrimonia, Maule
60% Carignan, 30% Pais, 10% Cinsault. 13° £12.95
An intriguing blend with a Chile variety as well as two from the Mediterranean. Quite a light colour. Quite fragrant fruit, from the Pais and Cinsault, with a firm tannic streak from the Carignan. Quite a firm youthful finish. An original note on which to finish.
In summary, I think Chile makes some stunning Syrah, with freshness and peppery fruit, and well integrated and often not too high alcohol levels. The Cinsault and Carignan come from old vines and offer an extra rewarding dimension to the wines of Chile.