This week we feature Chilean wines that Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins recently discovered when she was invited to a wonderful tasting hosted by Wines of Chile.
While Susan learned about the country & the culture while sipping & sampling on a range of Chilean wines, the host, Lisa Ulrich of Andros Communications, focused the tasting on Chile’s regional diversity. Susan shares what she learned about this country that is 4,300 km in length and only 177 km at its broadest point & offers recommendations of wines to purchase that are readily available at the LCBO for you to explore Chile too.
Wines of Chile – Quality and Value in One Great Package
The tasting was held at Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar in Ottawa’s Byward Market where chef Jonathan Korecki wowed the guests with the visually stunning and fabulously tasty food matches he created for the Chilean wines.
Chile is protected by the Atacama desert to the north, the Pacific to the west, the Andes to the east, and the Patagonian ice fields to the south. These natural features protect the vineyards from pests and disease and provide a geographic diversity that allows for tremendous variation in terroir. Variations in altitude, the cooling effect of the Pacific currents, healthy well-drained soils all contribute to the success of the wine industry in this country. As a result of a benevolent climate and these natural barriers, Chile has become a centre of sustainability and organic viticulture.
A commitment has been made to a Sustainability Program, which includes close attention to the environment, the people and the economic bottom line. The goal is to be the number one producer of premium, sustainable and diverse New World wines by 2020. Fourteen Chilean wineries have now been certified in the first segment of the Sustainability Code, which pertains to vineyard management processes and management.
With many wines to choose from, here are two Sauvignon Blanc white wines that Susan recommends to pick up at the LCBO:
Errazuriz ‘Max Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Sourced from a hillside estate only 12 km from the Pacific Ocean, the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged 3 months on the lees, providing a silky texture and good volume on the palate. Fragrant with tropical fruit and citrus aromas, this wine also proffers subtle herbal notes. Dry, medium bodied and tangy, the wine offers a lovely balance of refreshing acidity, soft texture and fine underlying minerality. Flavours of passionfruit and fresh herbs mingle on the lasting fresh finish.
Quintay ‘Q’ Sauvignon Blanc 2011
More in the classic New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc, there’s bright pungency on the nose with aromas of nettles, herbs, fresh-mown grass mingling with citrus and tropical fruit. Zesty, fresh and vibrant in texture, the grassy notes replay, while grapefruit and passionfruit mingle on a pithy energetic finish. This was a great match to chef Korecki’s Papaya salad with torched albacore tuna sashimi.