By Margaret Snook, May 2, 2009
Even without peeking at the label, there are two things that are immediately evident upon the first glance at this wine: (1) it has a good share of Cabernet in it, and (2) this is no spring chicken. How so? First, Cabernet, by its nature, tends to be more plum-colored and less brilliant than most other varieties, so there’s the tip-off. Then the age thing. Again, it shows in the glass—that plummy color goes a bit darker and loses a bit of its original shimmer. Don’t get me wrong, this is no geezer—not by a long shot—but it’s got some evolution on it (which has its benefits). It spent its first year in the barrel (French, we’re told), and a couple more in the bottle. That’s not a long time as far as wine goes, but since most Chilean wine is sold (and consumed) within the first year or two, the fact that this 3-year-old is on the market now is a bit of an anomaly… and as such at least worth paying attention to.
There’s plenty of plum here, from the color to the aroma to the flavor. Some fresh fig, some blackberry, and even a touch of violet too. With a bit of O2 in the glass, Bouchon’s tell-tale mint comes through. Paying a bit more attention, you’ll notice something meaty about it—that’s the Syrah talking. And then there’s a hint of tobacco, most likely from the Malbec.
Take a sip. There’s plum there too, along with a bit of dark chocolate, balsamic vinegar, maybe a bit of soy sauce. It’s got Cab tannins, so there’s some grip there, but they’ve softened and smoothed out around the edges. The Maule Valley acidity is there too, keeping it fresh.
This is a fairly complex wine, which is simply a fancy way of saying that all its descriptors don’t jump out at you all at once. Time in the bottle have allowed its aromas and flavors to meld into something all their own, making them harder to describe individually, making this wine more unique, lending it a character of its own.
To me this fits into my “grown up wine” category. It’s well-made and would make a great food wine (I’m thinking beef roulade with bacon and mixed mushrooms, maybe a wild rice pilaf or rostied potatoes on the side). But it’s kind of a Frank Sinatra wine. I know he was good, but he doesn’t excite me. I want a bit more spark in my wine, just like my music…
Denomination of Origin: Maule Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Syrah (40%), Malbec (15%)