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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Wine: Carménère Reserva, Santa Ana Vineyard
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.
An inexpensive red from the Colchagua Valley of Chile.
Winemaker: Panilonco (by Viñedos Errazuriz Ovalle S.A.)
Wine: Chief of Lions Merlot-Malbec Reserva
Varietal: Red Blend
Appellation: Colchagua Valley, Chile D.O.
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This budget-friendly offering was a deep red in the glass. It is a medium-bodied mix of 60% Merlot and 40% Malbec. It had a soft, round bouquet of dark fruit, with hints of earth, oak and anise. On the tongue I found plum, blackberry, a bit of clay, and benzine. As the wine breathed, the plum flavor lifted a tad to more of a currant while the rest remained consistent. Tannins are moderate and provide a grassy finish. Alcohol is 13%, and acidity seemed OK. Some, no doubt, will be put off by the benzine. I found nothing to complain about. I think it will do just fine as a table wine paired with meat dishes.
Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur. See “About” for the full disclaimer.