WSDC Event - Chilean Tasting New World, old grapes, new and old technology An Exploration!

What: Chilean Tasting New World, old grapes, new and old technology An Exploration!  
When: 29 Mar 17 ,18:30 -20:30
Where: Army & Navy Club SW1Y 5JN map
See summary here



Chile is a vast country, long and narrow, stretching from the Atacama desert to Cape Horn and from the Pacific to the Andes. Toby Morhall (Wine Society buyer for Chile) has written a great piece about Chilean Wine which is on the Wine Society Web Site. The climate, soil, weather, wine making techniques and grapes are varied. The tasting will feature wines from the Pais, Carmenere, Sauvignon Gris, Chardonnay and more grapes and wines made using traditional methods as well as the concrete egg fermentation process.

The tasting includes some wines from Calcagua in the Central Valley which has been badly hit by a huge wildfire this January. Vines 100 years old destroyed. So come and support the Chileans in an evening of exploration.

We start with a sparkling rose – to herald the start of spring. Miguel Torres Santa Digna Estelado Sparkling Rose (NV) from Curico Valley. This is a fair trade wine made from 100% Pais using the traditional method with secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Then the whites…

First the Limari Talinay, Chardonnay 2014. Grown in the cool desert limestone vineyard alongside cactus, just 90mm of rain a year. Aged in big barrels to keep the oak down. As the vineyard is near the sea this wine likes seafood!

Then it’s time for Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2015 from the Casablanca Valley which is made using the yeasts in the grapeskin – not cultivated yeasts. Well-balanced and will go for another 2 years yet – imagine a roast chicken or seafood with this?

The next wine is Sauvignon GRIS which is fuller and richer than its Blanc cousin (which comes next). Santa Ema Sauvignon Gris 2015 is crisp but not light. Yummy at lunchtime maybe?

The Lascar Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley 2016 is a lighter wine to help contrast with the final wine. Lascar is dry, no oak, lively and refreshing and a classic Sauvignon Blanc.

And on to the reds… the best thing for me about Chilean reds is the Carmenere grape – which for some odd reason never gives me a hangover. First red up is Morande Reserva One to One 2015 from the Maule Valley, made of Pais – the grape that started the Chilean wine industry at the time of Cortez 500 years ago and was resistant to the dreaded disease that nearly wiped out French wine. Reminiscent of good Beaujolais, so a light start.

Then onto Silbador 2015 from Emiliana (Bio and organic) Carmenere grape. Great daily drink. Punches above its weight and cost in my book. I have had the privilege of visiting the vineyard; the winemaker is a French lady and the vineyard is on the site of an old monastery where vegetables grow amongst the vines.

Then The Society’s Exhibition Alto Maipo Cab Sauvignon 2012. This will drink until 2023, so put away the notion of Chilean plonk. A year in a barrel so it’s soft and has a nose. Made exclusively from 2 communes for the Wine Society. Thank you Toby!

To follow - Undurraga Vigno Maule Carignan 2013, another longer hold as it will drink until 2020. 50 year-old vines and matured for 16 months in oak. Begs for a joint of lamb and Sunday lunch.

Merlot grape next - from Valle Antigua Merlot 2016 Central Valley. Winner of New World Producer of the Year by Sommelier Wine Awards 2016. Cherry notes with plum. Good winter drinking.

And now …it’s Antiyal 2008 from the Maipo Valley. Winemaker Alvarro Espinoza trained in France. Organic, biodynamic wine. Absolutely ready for drinking. Parker loved it too!

Montes Purple Angel 2013 Colcagua Valley. Intense purple colour blend of Carmenere and Petit Verdot. Please let us hope that these vines have survived the fire. Yummy with long finish.

Finally a well-made dessert wine which I tasted after a very good meal so am hoping that my memory of it as “just fab “is correct. Valdivieso Eclat Botrytis Semillon 2011 Molina Curico. The grapes are carefully picked with the eponymous (always wanted to use that word) botrytis rot to give the wine a rich sweetness. They are juiced, then half the juice goes into barrels and the other half into
stainless steel. The only steel on the palate comes from a slight grapefruit background.

After you have tasted these it will be time to vote!

Liz Hewitt, Committee member and event organiser

Dress Code: Smart casual

Guests: £35
Members: £31

Forthcoming events:
Monday 22 May 2017 – AGM and Dinner at the Savile Club

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