Vintages Pre-Release-Chile under $15, South-West France — Have your Say!

January 20, 2011, Vendange Institute

Guild director Rod Story led the tasting with a total of 12 wines divided into four flights of three. Though the Vintages release predominantly featured wines from Chile and SW France, our tasting included a variety of different regions to help satisfy our search for wines that provide the best value.

The first flight favourite was the Pouilly-Fumé followed by the Donnafugata. The Pouilly-Fumé was good value: a floral/herbaceous nose and full, ripe palate with a long finish. The Donnafugata: quince nose with a similar weight and sweetness of Loire Vouvray. A good simple appetizer wine. The Chablis wasn’t nearly as interesting with little nose, though the palate had some nice minerality and acid.

The second flight favourite was the Chilean Syrah: amazingly opaque purple with good astringency and berry fruit on the palate. Definitely new world. The second wine was the next favourite, showing its age with a brown rim and nose and palate of leather and forest floor. Great with stews. The Giné Giné was quite purple as well with juicy acidity but was uninteresting in comparison.

The Errazuriz was the overwhelming winner of the third flight. Jammy, black currant warm nose that followed through on the palate. Soft tannins and hedonistic. The Argentine Malbec was an old/new world hybrid that was warm but not jammy with a more structured finish. The Cahors though well structured wasn’t very interesting.

Saving the best for last, the crowd was evenly split for the final flight. This writer’s favourite was the CdP with it oak, leather, dried herbs, balanced tannins and long, long finish. Great value at half the price of Vieux Telegraph though not as big. The Barolo, though not typical (no tar), had a nose of dried cherry with ripe tannins and astringency that called out for food. Good value for $27. The Amarone was more port-like than Amarone. Raisin nose, warm and sweet with a very long finish.

Flight 1: Whites

  • Donnafugata Anthilia Bianco 2009 (Sicily, Italy) #195115 $15.00
  • Cedrick Bardin Pouilly-Fumé 2009   (Loire, France)  #202416 $21.95
  • Domaine Eugenie Carrion Chablis 2009 (Burgundy, France) #183590 $19.95

Flight 2: Reds

  • Ninquen Antu Syrah 2008 (Cochagua Valley, Chili) #675371 $17.95
  • Casa de Illana Tresdecinco 2004 (Ribera del Jucar, Spain) #190702 $15.95
  • Buil & Giné Giné Giné 2007 (Priorat, Spain) #067843 $17.95

Flight 3: More Reds

  • Le Chai au Quai Volupte de Malbec 2007 (Cahors, France) #194936 $17.95
  • Viejo Isaias Clasico Malbec 2008 (Mendoza, Argentina) #209320 $14.95
  • Errazuriz Single Vineyard Cab Sauv 2008 (Aconcagua Valley, Chile) #203364 $19.95

Flight 4: Big Reds

  • Clos du Calvaire Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007 (France) #728139 $36.95
  • Patrizi Barolo 2006 (Piemonte, Italy) #653527 $27.95
  • Villa Girardi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2005  #159913 $39.95