Monthly Archives: May 2012

Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon / Carmenere

A winery that I have always enjoyed is Cono Sur, and I gotta say I haven’t met a wine of their’s that I didn’t like.  The same can be said for

Cono Sur 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere

the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon / Carmenere.  This wine is a 60% Cab Sauv and 40% Carmenere, from the Colchagua Valley, which is located within the Rapel Valley.  This was a fantastic glass of wine.  This wine had a nice dark purple color with a ruby red rim, and on the nose ripe black fruit along with a hint of earthiness.  Smooth tannins and the right touch of oak went along nicely with a flavor of blackberry & plum, and made for an excellent finish.  This is definitely a wine that is hard to put down, and I found it the perfect wine for enjoying a Spring day.  Another great thing about this wine is the fruit was grown organically, and the winery prides itself on sustainable viticulture practices.   Cono Sur is committed to being an environmentally conscious winery, and believes that great wine can be made while taking care of the environment at the same time.  I was quite impressed with this wine, and am already planning on finding more.  So if  you are looking for a great wine to relax with, look no further than this Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere blend.  



Santa Carolina Carmenere

The Central Valley of Chile is a large growing region that consists of four main sub-regions – the Curico Valley, Maipo Valley, Rapel Valley,  and Maule Valley.  There are many different varietals grown in these regions, just a few being Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Pinot Noir.  I recently tried a Carmenere from the Rapel Valley, a 2009 produced by Santa Carolina.  This winery is one of a group of about a dozen wineries that produce close to 90 % of the Chilean wine exported to the United States.  Santa Carolina has been making since 1875, and the original warehouse built for the winery was declared a national monument in 1973.   The 2009 Reserva Carmenere I tried was an excellent wine, it had a deep purple color, along with aromas of ripe black fruit along with a little earthiness.  It had smooth tannins on the finish along with hints of black berry.  It was a nice glass of wine, and it paired well with the grilled steak I had along with it.  I always enjoy a good glass of Carmenere, and this was definitely among the best I have tried.

2009 Santa Carolina Carmenere

Chilean Winery Cono Sur is starting a summer campaign encouraging consumers to drink chilled Pinot Noir.  Although it’s not a wine that you would normally drink chilled, it might not be a bad idea.  There’s nothing liked chilled wine in the summer… 



Barossa Valley Shiraz

Australia is known for its Shiraz (Syrah), and some of the best Shiraz comes from The Barossa Valley, which is located in South Australia  about 40 miles Northeast of the city of Adelaide.  Vines were first planted her in 1847, and by the 1880s the area had a reputation as one of the most well known wine producing regions in Australia.  The vines are planted mainly on flat lands, but at elevations of 800 to 1,800 feet in some spots.  And although it is a hot and dry climate, the vines are cooled by the ocean breezes.   A lot of the Shiraz produced here is world famous, with many of the grapes grown on vines that have been around since the mid 1800s.  Other grapes grown here are whites such as Riesling, chardonnay, and Semillon, as well as reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mourvedre.  I was lucky enough to try out a Barrosa Valley Shiraz this weekend, a 2009 Two Hands Bella’s Garden Shiraz.  This was a fantastic wine, and possibly the best Shiraz I have ever tried.  It presented itself in a deep, dark purple, and had a nose of ripe blackberry with hints of spice.  It had great silky smooth finish, with mellow tannins and a delicious taste of spicy black fruit.  The alcohol at 14.8% sounds high, but is hardly noticeable as the wine is extremely well balanced.  This vintage was ranked no. 35 of the top 100 wines of 2011 by Wine Spectator, and also received a rating of 94.  It was a great glass of wine, and I would highly recommend it!

Two Hands 2009 Bella’s Garden Shiraz

Other news out of Australia deals with Tasmania.  The island has been ranked just behind China as the best place in the world to invest in the wine industry.  Reasons for the ranking were the island’s cool climate, abundance of water, and lack of pests among others.  Tasmania has a history of wine growing that dates back to the early 1800s, but has really not not seen much growth until relatively recently.  The cool climate makes it ideal for grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are currently the most popular varieties grown.  Other grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer.  Some officials claim that Tasmania has great potential, even going as far to saying it could become the Champagne of the southern hemisphere.  It shall be interesting to see what happens.

And finally, if you are looking for a wine to enjoy the warm weather with, this Rhone Valley rose might be the perfect drink for quenching you thirst.

Will Peru become the next big wine producer?

The other day I read a recent article about the potential of Peru to become the next big wine producing region.  Adolf Hurtado, the chief winemaker at the well established Chilean winery Cono Sur, believes that Peru has all the potential to become the next big thing in wine.  He points out that many regions in Peru are very similar to northern Chile, which is very dry and has climatic features such as high elevations and close proximity to the ocean, which are ideal for growing vines.  Historically, Peru is one of the oldest wine growing countries in South America, as vines were planted by the Spaniards in the mid 1500s.  Currently there are over 24,000 acres of vines in Peru, and most are close to the Pacific coast.   Some of the best vineyards are south of Lima, close to the town of Ica.  Unfortunately,  most wine produced in Peru does not have the best reputation.  One of the most well known producers in Peru is Tacama.  Two blends produced there, the Tacama Seleccion Especial (Tannat and Petit Verdot), and Tacama Gran Tinto (Malbec, Tannat, & syrah) are recommended.  There is a lot of good quality wine coming out of South America, especially from Argentina and Chile.  It will be interesting to see if Peru can attract more interest in its wine producing regions, and perhaps become a major player in the wine world.

Also speaking of South America,  Chilean wine producer Vina Undurraga won best white wine from the New World at ExpoVinis, which is a well known international wine fair.  The winning wine is a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc known as T.H. from La Obarca Valley.  The wine is said to be very fresh and aromatic, and most interestingly, is said to have a faint scent of gun powder.  I might have to give this one a try… 

And finally, the other day I sipped on one of my favorite wines from Argentina, a Torrontes produced by Zolo.  This is a very refreshing wine, and has a nice floral nose to it that reminds me of fresh flowers.  It has a very smooth finish with hints of honey, and is great for a hot day. Definitely a must have for the coming months…

2011 Zolo Torrontes



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