Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Some wines are so full of flavors and nuance, I almost feel like I can’t do them justice with a description.  In fact, I probably can’t.  Still, I do my best and enjoy trying.  Other wines are so amazingly straightforward, it takes only a word or two to express the essence of their character.  That isn’t a judgement, by the way.  Sometimes the right wine for a particular occasion is the kind that makes a singular impact.

Winemaker:   Santa Rita
Wine:  120 Sauvignon Blanc
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Valle Central DO, Chile
Price: $9.69

Notes:  Grapefruit

 

Viña Maipo Chardonnay 2015

Some wines I remember for their impact on my senses – their bouquet, their flavors.  Others I remember as part of what I was doing when I drank them – at a birthday party, concert, special restaurant, etc.  When I popped the cork on this bottle, my sweetie and I had decided to catch up on our pop culture and begin watching Season 1 of the show True Detective via HBO Now.  I truly didn’t realize how dark the story line would be, or I might have opted for something else.  The juxtaposition of a light white wine and the grim crimes being investigated on the screen, however, may have made both more memorable.

Winemaker:  Viña Maipo
Wine:  Mi Pueblo
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2015
Appellation:  Central Valley, Chile
Price:  $5.00

Notes:  This light-bodied, light-hued Chardonnay had bright acidity and a bouquet consisting of lemon, pineapple and spice.  Alcohol was at 13%.  On the palate I tasted lemon, pineapple, grass and a very forward kerosene note.  I’d suggest pairing this with food as (for me) the kerosene note was a bit off-putting.  Maybe that’s why it was marked down from $12 to $5.

Natura Pinot Noir 2013

Here is a wine called Nature from Chile as well as some scenes of nature’s beauty in Chile.

Vineyard: Natura by Emiliana Vineyards
Wine:  Pinot Noir
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Colchagua Valley, Chile
Price: $9.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  I love it when a wine surprises me (in a good way).  In this case it was the bouquet that brought a fun aroma of strawberry soda to my nose as well as scents of earth, pepper and green herbs.    This Pinot was light-bodied with good-to-high acidity and light tannins.  Alcohol was at 13.5%.  On the palate I caught flavors of strawberry, white pepper, green herbs and a hint of mushroom.  I found it a pleasant, gentle selection.  Although Turkey Day is a long way off, this wouldn’t be bad at all with a gently seasoned bird.

Rubus Chardonnay 2014

I try not to consult the winemaker’s or wineseller’s notes on a particular wine when I’m looking for a new wine experience.  Yes, I know they can prove helpful in finding things we think we’ll like based on the flavors we prefer and the wine experiences we’ve enjoyed in the past.  I definitely find them useful when searching for a wine to accompany a particular meal or for an occasion.  And I can’t completely ignore them if – as in some retailers – descriptors are posted with every selection.  But since I don’t want all my wines to taste the same, I don’t pay close attention to them when I’m browsing.

I also try not to read the back label before drinking a wine on the chance that it’ll contain tasting notes.  I don’t want my own experience to be affected by the suggestions of certain flavors and aromas being present.  I don’t think I’m all that easily beguiled, but I like the idea of starting with a blank slate when experiencing a wine for the first time.  And my experience has proved that, although often similar to what I taste, I don’t always agree with winemaker notes.   In some cases their notes and mine are quite different.  This wine is a case in point.  You can read the importer’s/winemaker’s description by clicking on the picture.  My notes are below.  Like night and day almost.  If you have tried this selection, I’d be interested in hearing what you found.

Winemaker:  Rubus
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Colchagua Valley, Chile
Price:  $14.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Chilean Chardonnay was pale yellow in the glass with a faint bouquet of lanolin, citrus and spice.  Acidity seemed good, and alcohol was at 13.5%.  Flavors I found consisted primarily of clementine and grass with fleeting whispers of spice.  I found it to be a somewhat restrained selection.  Not the average New World Chardonnay.  I liked it!

 

Crucero Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Although you can’t tell it from my posts on this blog, I’ve been drinking mostly reds for weeks now.  Perhaps it would help if I were better about getting my posts up in a timely manner.  Then you might know I’ve been enjoying reds of late.  And that is one of my New Year’s resolutions – to be more diligent about posting my wine experiences here.  Not doing too well so far, but there is time (and room) for improvement.  Ha!

Anyway, I was in the store the other day browsing and found myself drawn to the white wine shelves.  I even commented to the staff that I seemed to have a hankering for a white wine despite the chilly weather and piles of snow hanging around.  Having given voice to my thoughts, I decided to take action.

Winemaker:  Crucero
Varietal:  Sauvignion Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Curicó Valley, Chile
Price:  $9.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was light-bodied and a light yellow in the glass.  On the nose I found plenty of citrus and a touch of pear.  Flavors basically mirrored the bouquet with the addition of warm spice notes.  Acidity was fairly bright, and alcohol was at 13%.  Quite pleasant overall.

Maniña Sauvignon Blanc 2014

My work is sort of boom or bust.  By that I mean that when it is quiet, you can hear the grass grow.  But when it gets busy, it can be key-ray-zee!  Thus, after a 12+ hours day of work recently, I stumbled into a Kroger store and grabbed a bottle of wine to accompany my very late dinner.  And let me say, this Kroger had the best wine selection I have ever seen in one of their stores.  I mean they even had a Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon on the shelves.  In my state, however, I knew anything that potentially complex and lovely would be wasted on me that evening.  Instead, my tired digits wrapped themselves around this Chilean white.

Winemaker:   Maniña
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage:  2014
Appellation:  Valle Central, Chile
Price: $12.99

Notes:  The color was straw, and it’s bouquet held scents of citrus and tropical fruit.  It was light-bodied with decent acidity and 12.5% alcohol.  I tasted primarily citrus flavors with a hint of melon here and there.  It finished on a bracing citrus zest note.  It went fairly well with the frozen chicken strips I microwaved, but I think it might have been better with a nice seafood dish.  By the way, I did have the next day off.  Thank goodness!

Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

I seem to be feeling the influence of Basque Country all around me.  First, I went to a restaurant where the proprietor and his cuisine hail from the Basque region.  At the restaurant, SER, I also had some Basque wine.  And now I have inadvertently sampled a bottle of wine from a Chilean vineyard whose name, Los Vascos, means “the Basques.”  What an unexpected alignment of the stars and grapes!

Owned by Domaines Barons de Rothschild since 1988, Viña Los Vascos produces a full line of 4 reds (two blends, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Carménère), a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Rosé.

Winemaker:  Los Vascos
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2013
Appellation: Colchagua, Chile
Price: $8.99

Notes:  This Los Vascos was dark ruby and had scents of tangy berries, earth, moss, oak, and spice in he bouquet.  Medium-bodied and high in acidity, it was dry at 14% alcohol.  Tannins were medium with a quick, firm grip.  It took a good twenty minutes for this selection to breathe.  Once it settled, I caught pepper, brambly woodiness, tobacco, camphor and red berries on the palate.  Pretty decent at this price point, I think.

 

Castillero del Diablo Reserva Carménère‎ 2013

More Carménère from Chile!  This one had a lighter flavor profile than the others I’ve had.  Well, the other two.  Ha!

Winemaker:  Castillero del Diablo (by Concha Y Toro)
Wine:  Carménère Reserva
Varietal:  Carménère
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Chile
Price:  $13.99

Notes:  In the glass this wine was a pretty burgundy.  In the bouquet I got scents of sweet red berries, mint and a touch of wet forest floor.  It was medium-bodied with high acidity and alcohol at 13.5%.  The tannins were gentle.  Flavors I found included oak, dark cherry, a hint of pepper, and a shot of bitters.  It had a long finish that lingers on a cherry note.

Frontera Chardonnay 2013

For the folks who may be dropping by this blog for the first time, I’d like to reiterate that the mission here is to explore budget-friendly wines – aka inexpensive.  That doesn’t mean all the selections I write about cost less than $5, less than $10, less than $15, etc.  After all, everyone splurges from time to time.  Nor does it mean that all the wines are bad – far from it.  Not all cheap wines are bad, and not all expensive wines are good.  There are times when you discover a wine in which there seems to be an inverse relationship between price and quality (or at least price and enjoyment).   Thus, I’ve had expensive wine that I didn’t enjoy at all, and I’ve had inexpensive wine that I thought was quite nice.  I’m always hoping to find the latter.

Winemaker:  Frontera (by Concha Y Toro)
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Central Valley – Chile
Price:  $4.97

Notes:  The color was a pale yellow.  It’s bouquet was quite perfumey, reminiscent of orange jello.  Body was medium with a definite coat-the-tongue quotient.  Acidity was fine, and alcohol was at 13%.  Core flavors for me were orange, grass and citrus zest.  I thought this wine was surprisingly decent considering it’s very low price.  It was simple, but it was likeable.

Marchigüe Carménère‎ 2012

When I grabbed this off the shelves, I’d only had one other single varietal wine made with Carménère grapes.  That was the Anakena Carménère‎ that I’d had while on travel over a year ago.  Clearly, then, it was high time to take the plunge once again.

Winemaker:  Marchigüe
Wine:  Carménère Reserva, Santa Ana Vineyard
Varietal:  Carménère
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Colchagua Valley, Chile DO
Price:  $7.99 at Trader Joe’s

Notes:  In the glass this Chilean was a deep, dark red.  In the bouquet I detected scents of menthol, tea leaf, rubber, and cherry.  It was medium-bodied with good acidity and alcohol at 13.5%.  I thought the tannins were medium and fairly aggressive in their onset/grip.  Flavors I found included rubber, black cherry, pepper, menthol and ash with a dose of bitters.  All in all, I thought it was an OK wine but not at all balanced.  If you choose to grab a bottle, I would serve it with a beef or perhaps lamb dish that would stand up to the rubber, menthol and bitters in this wine’s flavor profile.