Posted on March 7th, 2010
It may seem a little shallow to ponder the fate of Chile’s wine industry in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. However, in many of the regions around the epicentre of the quake, wine is the leading industry and critical to economic recovery.
Many wineries have reported broken tanks and millions of litres of wine lost. It wasn’t just stored wine affected. Roads, bridges are down and the electricity needed to process the grapes has been cut off. The Chilean wine industry faces stern challenges in the weeks and months ahead.
Below, three wines from Chile worth your attention this month.
1. Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (€9.99) – white
An Irish connection in Bernardo O’Higgins, the Irish-Chilean freedom fighter who, with 120 of his compatriots hid out in the cellars of Santa Rita.
Think of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the volume turned down. Zippy and zesty yet all the hallmarks of a good Sauvignon Blanc.
I previously tasted the organic version which was very similar.
With food? As an aperitif or with light fish dishes.
Availability: €9.99 in Dunnes, Tesco and wine shops nationwide.
2. Santa Alicia Reserva Carmènere (€9.69) – red
No mention of Chilean wine would be complete without reference to Carmènere, the adopted native grape. Rich yet smooth cherries and chocolate with gorgeous long lasting flavors
Santa Alicia won Chilean Winery of the Year in 2007 and it’s easy to see why.
Interest wine fact about Carmènere in Chile: for so long thought to be Merlot, but it wasn’t. A very good opportunity for Chile to differentiate themselves with their own signature grape, just as Argentina has done with Malbec.
With food? Beef, venison or other dark, rich meats.
3. Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexander Merlot 2004 (€23.39) – red
Rich plums, blackcurrant, chocolate and spices. Voluptuous, rounded and rewarding.
Made by Wine Enthusiast magazine’s New World Winery of the Year 2009.
If you open and decant for a few hours before drinking and you’ll get far more out it.
With food? Steak
Availability: Comans, Rathgar; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; O’Briens
As first appeared in the Sunday Tribune, 7th March 2009