This Thursday we tasted wines from Chile at Fine Wines of Stockton. Several of the wines were from the Santa Ema winery in the Maipo Valley. They have vineyards in the Maipo, Cachapoal, Casablanca and Leyda Valleys. There was also one red from the Colchagua Valley made by Montes winery.
Originally the wine distributor was going to present the wines but he had a family emergency so George (the owner of Fine Wines) did the presentation. There were six wines to taste, one white and five reds. The reds were tasted blind. About 10 -12 people showed up for the tasting this week and we voted on our favorite and second favorite wines.
2009 Santa Ema Sauvignon Blanc Maipo Valley ($9.00) – Light yellow color with a floral nose, tropical fruit and apricots. Good amount of acid in the mouth with floral and melon flavors. It had a long finish with the acid sensation lingering longer than the flavor. The flavor also became a little grassier as the wine sat in the glass.
2007 Santa Ema Barrel Select Carmenere from the Cachapoal Valley ($10.75) – Very dark ruby color with a nose of vanilla , smoke and ripe fruit. The flavors consisted of dark ripe fruit, caramel and a vegetal (slight green peper) flavor that developed over time. There were significant tannins and plenty of acid. The finish was long with both flavor and tannin. The wine is 100% Carmenere aged in oak for 8 months.
2007 Santa Ema Barrel Select 60/40 from the Maipo Valley ($10.50) – This wine is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. This wine had a dark ruby color and initially the nose was somewhat closed showing only minimal fruit. With time it smelled of tobacco and wood. The flavors were subdued dark fruit initially and then started to evolve into understated fruit and spice. A somewhat elegant wine. This wine got more interesting with time in the glass. Plenty of tannins and acid, although some tasters felt it had less tannin than previous wines. It finished with wood and fruit.
2008 McManis Cabernet Sauvignon ($10) – Wait a minute! That doesn’t sound like a Chilean wine. George snuck in an inexpensive American Cabernet to compare to the wines from Chile. The McManis Family Vineyards is in Ripon, Ca. and uses fruit from central California. The wine is primarily Cabernet with some Petit Verdot and is 13.5% alc.
It was a dark ruby color and it had a big fruity nose with caramel and vanilla. In the mouth you got vanilla, caramel and dark ripe fruit. There were a moderate amount of drying tannins and plenty of acid. Nancy found finish a little sweet with the caramel and vanilla. Some people remarked on the amount of wood they picked up.
2006 Santa Ema Catalina ($35) – The grapes for the Catalina were sourced from the Cachapoal Valley. It is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Carmenere and 7% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged 14 months in new French oak barrels. The color was a dark ruby and the nose had dark fruit and green peppers (jalapeno). In the mouth you picked up the green pepper, tobacco and spicy dark fruit. Lots of grippy tannins with a balanced amount of acid. There was a long finish with the flavor and tannins. This was the group’s favorite wine.
2007 Montes Alpha Syrah ($22) – This is from the Apalta vineyards in the Colchagua Valley and is made from 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Viognier aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. A very dark ruby color with a stinky (barnyard) nose that blew off to dark fruit and mint. The flavors were dark fruit and vanilla although not overly oaked. There were significant tannins with balanced acid and a long finish. Understated but flavorful. This was the groups second favorite of the evening.