Ventisquero Grey: Two Chilean Red Wines to Compare and Contrast

Winemaking techniques and styles of wine are as varied as the terroir in which wine grapes grow and the personalities of the winemakers crafting those wines. All of that variety is one of the things that is most appealing about wine. Today’s tasting of Ventisquero Grey demonstrates that appealing variability in the most delicious way. We received both wines as tasting samples.

Ventisquero produces four ranges of wine in Chile from estate vineyards. Ramirana wines are sourced from the Maipo Valley. Kalfu is a celebration of Chile’s cool, coastal regions. Root: 1 pays homage to vineyards planted on their own rootstock (that’s interesting) in the Colchagua, Maipo and Casablanca Valleys. And Ventisquero wines include single-block expressions (Grey), single-vineyard expressions (Queulat), Reserve (Reserva) and young, drink-now wines (Yelcha). 

That’s a lot of attention to detail in winemaking. And each grape variety is vinified in a way that brings the best from that variety and vineyard location to the wine. You will notice very different oak aging choices were used in making the two wines below.

2017 Ventisquero Grey, GCM, Single Block, Colchagua Valley
2017 Ventisquero Grey, GCM, Single Block, Colchagua Valley

2017 Ventisquero Grey, GCM, Single Block, Colchagua Valleymedium ruby in the glass with struck match aromas that blew off quickly leaving lovely tart raspberry and blackberry aromas that follow into the flavor profile along with earth, cut flower stems and a hint of vanilla. A thread of minerality winds its way through the flavors as well. Tannins are significant and drying in this barely medium-bodied wine but well integrated with the juicy fruit flavors. 14% abv. $20

This is a lovely red blend that is so sippable on its own and extremely food friendly. It has plenty of fruit flavor without being even close to over ripe and the influence of oak aging is well in the background. The winemaker suggest decanting this wine for 30 minutes.

  • Grapes: 62% Garnacha, 19% Cariñena, 19% Mataro
  • Vineyard: Apalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, planted on a western-facing hillside.
  • Single Block: Number 28
  • Soil: Stones, rocks, orange granite and clay.
  • Vintage: Hot. Grapes ripened several week earlier than in previous years.
  • Oak Aging: 6 months in 5th-use French oak barrels 

As an expression of single block wines, our Grey GCM, (Garnacha, Cariñena, Mataro) is witness to Ventisquero’s evolution. The predominantly Garnacha based blend with its fruit and fruity flavor profile doesn’t require lengthy oak aging. 

Felipe Tosso, Ventisquero Chief Winemaker
2014 Ventisquero Grey Carménère, Single Block, Maipo Valley
2014 Ventisquero Grey Carménère, Single Block, Maipo Valley

2014 Ventisquero Grey Carménère, Single Block, Maipo Valley dense ruby in the glass with smoky, asphalt and dark fruit aromas and hints of roasted bell pepper. Dark berry and ripe plum flavors combine with smoky flavors, roasted bell pepper, dusty minerality and grippy tannins for a rich, complex flavor profile and medium body. Acidity is juicy and the wine is nicely balanced.  14% abv. $20

This is a muscular wine, but not a brute. If you favor a bigger, more tannic wine then sip this on its own. Otherwise pair this Carménère with food, which is my preference. The winemaker recommends decanting for 30 minutes ahead of time and expects this wine to age for up to 10 years if cellared properly.

  • Grapes: 100% Carménère
  • Vineyard: La Trinidad Vineyard, planted in more coastal Maipo Valley.
  • Single Block: Number 5
  • Soil: complex and variable layers of clay, sand, coarse sand, granite sand and small pebbles.
  • Vintage: Cool spring with a normal summer and no rain that allowed for slow ripening.
  • Oak Aging: extra-fine-grained French oak barrels, 34% new and 66% second and third-use. The wine aged a further 8 months in bottle before release.

When the wine is concentrated, Carménère goes very well with oak. Otherwise the toast overpowers the fruit. We age our Grey Carménère for a minimum of 18 months and another 8 months in bottle, or longer. That decision is based on the power of the Carménère from year to year.

Felipe Tosso, Ventisquero Chief Winemaker

Cheers!

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