Hidden Gems of Argentina & Chile--Our First 7 at 7 Friday Night Tasting

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  • By Jessica Martinez
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Hidden Gems of Argentina & Chile--Our First 7 at 7 Friday Night Tasting

The First Friday of every month is dedicated to smaller, smarter wine tastings, and they only cost $30. But don't think we're holding back on the quality of the wines. On the contrary.

Join us August 3rd for our first Fridays 7 at 7 tasting!  Call (562) 597-8303

 

The first Friday of every month we are starting our tasting just a little bit early and we are hoping this earlier start and fewer wines at an amazing price (just $30 per person) will make it easier for more people to attend our classes and experience phenomenal wines!

 

We are kicking off these tasting with some amazing Wines from Argentina and Chile! This tasting is valued at over $500 and you only have to pay $30! WHAT A STEAL!! Hopefully you can join us! Reservations are required and can be made by calling the store at (562) 597-8303!

 

I don’t want to give too much away, but as the new Southern Hemisphere buyer I am excited to present some of my new finds.

 

The World's 4th and 5th Largest Wine Producers

Chile and Argentina are the 4th and 5th largest producers and exporters of wine in the world.  But this wasn’t until recently that Argentina grew to be such an important exporter of wine.  Part of the bad rap that Argentinian wine used to get was that they produced wine just for quantity as opposed to making top quality wines.  This seriously hindered their exportation numbers, so in hopes to export more wine they really began to focus on the winemaking and quality of the wines they were producing.

 

Just a few of the major wine regions in Argentina are, Mendoza (produces 60% of all Argentinian wine), San Juan, and La Rioja.  Mendoza is also home to some of the highest altitude vineyards ranging from 2,800 to 5,000 feet above sea level. The high altitudes of these vineyards give wine producers a specific advantage in that they are not susceptible to insects, fungi, mold and other grape diseases which makes it easier for them use little to no pesticides so it is easier for them to farm organically. Malbec is the largest planted grape in Mendoza it was brought to Argentina by the French. It is different than French Malbec in that it grows in smaller and tighter clusters while also producing smaller berries giving the wine darker more intense flavor profiles.

For being a New World wine region, Chile has a long history starting back in the 16th century, but it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere as well as Cabernet Franc were introduced to Chile’s vineyards.  

 

One of the unique arts of winemaking in Chile is where it is geographically located.  The fact that the Pacific Ocean covers the entire coast while the Andes create a wall directly to the East it gives Chile a perfect Mediterranean climate for grape growing.  Chile’s winemaking is particularly influence by the French Bordeaux style. You can see this in the collaborations of Robert Mondavis’ collaboration with Vina Errazuriz in the production of Seña as well as the Chateau Lafite Rothschild collaboration with Los Vascos.   

 

2014 Casarena  Naoki’s Vineyard Malbec

Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo Argentina

Naoki’s vineyard is located in what the producers of Casarena call a hidden gem in Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo. The vineyard is 3,120 feet in elevation all hand harvested by the dedicated workers of the Casarena family. The spontaneous malolactic fermentation is followed by 12 months in French oak. On the nose this wine is beautifully floral with hints of plum and fresh red fried with a bit of spice at the end. Limestone outcropping in the vineyard creates the mineral texture and fresh almost light mouth feel for this big bold Malbec and still giving it a polished tannic finish.

$27.99 per bottle

 

2013 El Gran Enemigo Single Vineyard Gualtallary

Mendoza, Argentina

85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Malbec.  This wine shows a deep purple color with soft red highlights. The majority of this wine is made up of Cabernet Franc, which elevates the sweet spices, black pepper and light notes of eucalyptus and thyme. The hint of Malbec brings notes of ripe black fruits, blackberries, and cherries. After 7 months of aging in French oak barrels on the wine gathers flavors of vanilla and chocolate to finish off on the palate

$99.99 per bottle

 

2015 Chakana Ayni Malbec Vino de Parcela Gravas

Mendoza Argentina

The goal of this wine was to show how a calcareous profile drives in intense black fruit flavor profile with a chalky tannin structure giving it amazing aging potential. This wine is already aged for 12 months in 3000 liter oak founders and only 2000 bottles of it are produced. This wine comes from on of the smaller plots (only about 20 hectors) in Paraje Altamira, Valle De Uco. The Ayni Vineyard was planted on virgin soils and the number of small rivers that cross the vineyard increases the complexity of the soils. This wine is only produced with the sections of the vineyard where the calcium carbonate gravels come to the surface and the vines from amongst them with no soil. This deep purple wine has a bit of a leathery and smoky aroma. With the addition of soft peppery flavors as well as black fruit and slowly integrated tannins gives this big bold Malbec a nice balanced finish.

$48.99 per bottle

 

2014 Domain Barons de Rothschild (Lafite de Los Vascos ) “Le Dix”

Cabernet Sauvignon, El Fraile Vineyard, Colchagua, Chile

This wine was originally produced to celebrate the first 10 years of Domain Barons de Rothschild being in Chile. The El Fraile Vineyard  “The Monk” is the oldest planted vineyard on the estate and it is over 80 years old. Los Vascos is located in the closed off Valley de Cantene in Colchuagua, which is in the central zone of Chile 25 miles from the sea. This particular vintage is made up of 85% cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Carmener, and 5% Syrah. The grapes were fermented in stainless steel vats with pumping over. This wine experienced a 25-day maceration period followed by 18months in new French oak barrels from Domain Barons de Rothschild cooperage. All of these factors are crucial in the experience of this wine. The deep ruby color with raspberry and ripe cherry scented nose are followed by a palate including the raspberry and ripe cherry but also including an array of spices such as saffron, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, chocolate and tobacco. The over all amazing mouth feel and long soft balanced tannic finish make this wine worth every sip.

$59.99 per bottle

 

2007 Seña Red Wine, Valle de Aconcagua, Chile

The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Seña Hillside vineyard in the Valle de Aconcaugua 25.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. This red blend is made up of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carmaner, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, and 12% Merlot. The grapes were mostly fermented in stainless steel tanks, 6 % of the must was fermented in first use French oak barrels. After various maceration times for each of the grapes the juice was then put into 100% new French Oak barrels and was aged for 22 months where most of the malolactic fermentation took place. All these steps gave us a wine deep in color with rich ripe fruits such as strawberries, plum, cassis with a hint of black pepper and sweet and spice that add complexity on the nose. The palate has a nice tannic structure with complex flavors of fruit and oak spices with thyme and bay leaf, meaty notes and a bit of tobacco all driving down the tongue leaving a long extended finish. 

$194.99 per bottle

 

2014 Lapastolle Le Petit Clos, Apalta

Colchaugua Valley, Chile

This vineyard is nestled between the Tinguiririca River and the hills of the coastal Cordillera, and this terroir is crucial to the balance and slow ripening of the grapes. They used all native yeast in the fermentation and maceration of the wine. After 5 weeks of maceration and the gentle manual punch down the compounds extracted from the skins give the wine a structure and concentration for its big mouth feel. After the maceration the wine is gravity filled into 100% new French oak barrels for 8 months where most of the natural malolactic fermentation occurs. After that they select the lots of the juice and then it was age for another 18 months in 33% new French Oak barrels, 33% on year 1st use French oak barrels and 34% in oak vats. To ensure top quality they leave the wine unfiltered and untreated. The wine has a deep intense red color with violet edges. The nose has an intense fruit expression with black fruit such as blackberry and cassis mixed in with red fruit such as cherry and plums slightly spiced with cedar notes. This big wine with plenty of structure along with remarkable acidity is sure to leave a lasting impression not only on the tongue but also on your mind.

$56.99 per bottle

 

2015 Alchemy Carmenere, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

This is one of those wines that the minute I tasted it I wanted to bring it into the store. At only 500 cases made of this wine I was lucky to get my hands on it. After meeting the winemaker Alphonse De Rose I got a feel for the love and attention that went into making this wine. Everything at this vineyard is done by hand, from harvest to sorting and destemming. It is 100% Carmener coming from the Almahue Valley Vineyard which has some of the oldest vines in Chile. After everything is hand processed before it is bottled the wine sees 18 months in French Oak. The oak lends itself to the soft mouth feel and complemented elegant tannins with wonderful aromas of red berries and spices. 

$26.99 per bottle

 

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