Chile has a long viticultural history for a New World wine region dating to the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French wine varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère and Cabernet Franc were introduced. In the early 1980s, a renaissance began with the introduction of stainless steel fermentation tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. Wine exports grew very quickly as quality wine production increased. The number of wineries has grown from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005. Reasons for this sudden expansion varies, but all are essential to understanding Chilean wine culture. The largest factor, and arguably most prominent, relates to the large amount of French families immigrating to Chile during the late 20th century. The French were able to share their fine tastes and experience with the native Chileans, expanding their knowledge of the wine world. Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the ninth largest producer. The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère.
- Item #: i_383454Bottle Size: 750mlChile is an unsung hero of value wine. "Cota 500," Andes Plateau's Cabernet is sourced from, you guessed it, vineyards at 500 meters (not feet) of altitude. Chewy and spicy with tones of dried chili pepper and dark chocolate Andes Plateau crafts a Cabernet with a deep tannic cut and a liveliness that is rare outside of European wine. It is the perfect wine to pair with slow-cooked beef stews, shredded pork tamales or braised root vegetables.
- Item #: i_378159Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 95The Lapostolle 2016 "Cuvee Alexandre" Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile has the bold flavors, full body, and chewy tannin that you need in a good grilling partner! It's densely flavored with ripe dark fruits and preserves, cocoa, subtle black current leaf and char notes, ending with a firm grip on the thick and juicy finish; a perfect accompaniment to high-protein dishes with bold flavors.
Lapostolle is an impressive Chilean winery with French heritage that was created by Alexandra Lapostolle-Marnier and her husband to make high-quality wines at reasonable prices, while minimizing their impact on the environment. The "Cuvee Alexandre," named for Alexandra's great grandfather who created Grand Marnier, is from an old, oganically farmed vineyard planted in the 1920s in the Colchagua region, whose climate has a lot in common with California's central coast.
Pick up a bottle and give it a decant while your meal is cooking...we think you'll be impressed that it cost less than $20! And for that price, you might consider putting some aside in your wine cooler to try over the coming years...they will reward your patience.
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "This is wonderfully polished and refined with a sexy tannin texture that caresses your palate. Medium-to full-bodied and very refined and polished, showing such elegance, focus and roundness. Drinkable now, but better in 2021."
- Item #: i_381588Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Pirque Vineyard is a little closed but feels very solid. It has varietal and zone character, without excessive mintiness, faintly balsamic. It's still very young, but it seems to have all the ingredients for a great development in bottle, with the textbook tannins. Derek Mossman described it quite accurately as an "elegant blue-fruited gent with muscles inside a well-cut jacket." There you go! 3,012 bottles were filled from 11 barrels in November 2017 as Lot #80."
This is small scale winemaking at its best! The Garage Wine Co began as a hobby in Pilar and Derek Mossman’s garage with the goal of making wines for friends and family. Everything was done by hand, primarily on the weekends while they continued to work their day jobs to provide for the family. Within a few years, the wines became better known as word of mouth created demand from strangers and eventually restaurants. The Chilean national newspaper ran an article on this coveted urban myth, referring to the budding enterprise as "that Garage Wine Company." With that story, demand increased and a brand was born.
The hallmark of these wines is their amazing purity, freshness and silky texture. The Mossman's achieve such high quality by emphasizing quality over quantity. They make tiny lots of 11-19 barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Carignan field blend plowed by horse to this day. They truck their fruit in a trailer behind a trusty, worn red pick-up and make their wines by hand. Employing natural methods, only native yeasts are utilized for fermentation and the wines are aged in used oak barrels. The finished wines are then bottled in sterilized, recycled bottles.
Despite their humble ways, the wines have attracted the attention of critics who consistently award high scores and write glowing reviews. These limited distribution wines are fantastic and demonstrate what can be achieved with singular passion and commitment. They are compelling, well-balanced and utterly delicious.
- Item #: i_383649Bottle Size: 750mlWe thoroughly enjoyed tasting the wines from Pedro Parra y Familia. The passion put into these wines is as evident and convincing as the terroir of Itata and the amazing flavors and scents found within (the nose and tongue do not lie!). These are some of the best we've tasted from Chile in some time. If you are unfamiliar with Chilean viticulture these will be a splendid introduction; if you remember when Chilean wines first splashed onto the market decades ago, these bottles will showcase not only how far their acumen has progressed but also how much potential and world class quality can come out of their soil and into our glasses-- these are the real deal!
"Pedro Parra y Familia was born in my head many years ago, but it was only after 15 years as a consultant, traveling and working all around, I felt mature enough to begin. The main idea was always the same: make pure terroir wines from Granite soils. Make wines I like to drink, and be free to select and create from several terroirs. But more important, the idea is to start something that I can share with my family, my wife Camila, and my kids Diego, Felipe and Colomba." - Pedro Parra
"After 18 years of terroir work all around the World, I felt mature enough to create my own wines, from what I consider the most incredible Chilean Terroir, Itata." - Pedro Parra
I had the chance to work and dig in Barolo, Burgundy, Montalcino, Oregon, Sicily, Rioja, and worked with the best people." - Pedro Parra
"Pedro Parra y Familia is based on the South of Chile, mostly Bio-Bio, ITATA and Cauquenes appellations. Why? Very simple; this area is in my experience the only place in Chile where I can produce the wines I like to drink: a mix of fresh-acid fruit, with complex flavors of flowers, soil, underbrush and a great granitic, mineral-driven mouthfeel."
The 2016 Pencopolitano is a blend from Itata and Cauquenes. The local environs are rife with cloudy weather and coastal mountain climates resting over red granitic slopes (the soil dates back to the Paleozoic era, around 240 million years ago).
Tasting notes - Lots going on in the nose-- fruit and florals first, raspberry, mint, pepper and salted plum. In the mouth, flavors of cherries and strawberries are bolstered by light brown spices, a dash of garden soil and forest floor, excellent acidity. This is solid, balanced wine and very easy to drink. A field blend of Malbec, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Pais, Carmenere from 60 to 110 year old vines grown in red quartzic granite - Organic - Dry Farmed - Aging in Cement and Stainless steel for 1 year.