This is the second more recent vintage of a Los Vascos that has been disappointing. I have some of this producer’s earlier wines in my cellar such was my faith at the time. The 2013 has diffuse and spiky aromatics that are simple in expression. The palate is medium bodied and improves with air. A disappointing wine that lacks interest for a producer of this calibre. (Alc: 14%, Region: Colchagua, Chile, Rating: Acceptable, Drink: now, Tasted: Jan, 2017)
Here is a roundup of a few South American wines tasted abroad. These wines continue to impress. Most are available in Australia, with the honourable exception of the first one. Naturally, of course, that is the wine that I would most wish to buy.
Clos de los Siete Mendoza 2011, Argentina This is another good release from Clos de Los Siete by Michel Rolland. A blend of 56% malbec, 14% merlot, 12% cabernet sauvignon, 12% syrah, 4% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot, it is perhaps more simply summarised by identifying the red grape varieties that are not in the blend. Its aromatics remind of dark cherry, licorice and well handled cedar and spice characters. A ripe impression is given, without crossing the line. The palate is balanced, full bodied, with smooth and rounded length. It is filled in by dark cherry and plum characters. A delicious wine. Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: C$25, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.closdelossiete.com/en/, Tasted: 2015
Valle Las Acequias “Malbec Oak” Mendoza 2010. Argentina A 100% malbec from 85 year old wines is a good start. The wine though is described as “Malbec Oak 2010”, which sends a rather odd signal. The back label continues the theme, describing its flavour as “Strong tannins, sweet and gentle thanks to the contact with the Oak“. That’s a capital “O” for oak. So, should the consumer expect a lot of oak in this wine? Should I be worried if it didn’t say oak? There is pride in this oak. In the glass, for the record, the oak was handled well. The rest of the wine though is a bit “dry reddish”, by which I mean it is pleasant enough although it could have been any old red in the glass. Aromatics of blackberry jam, and a balanced palate and medium length complete the picture.
Los Vascos Grand Reserve Colchagua 2011, Chile I found this a bit of a disappointing Los Vascos Grand Reserve from the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) stable, an estate I otherwise hold in high regard. It has that typical Chilean tomato stalk nose (terroir, oak regime or something else, I am not sure?), supplemented in this case by a pongy, sweaty character. The palate is balanced, if somewhat formless. Only an average wine, I am afraid.
Norton Privada Mendoza 2011, Argentina Another blend from a South American producer, which suits me rather well. This time malbec, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. This is one of those good well made wines, although the alcohol on the label (as opposed to its impression in the glass) is getting up there. Aromatics of blackberry, ripe plums and plum jam. A palate that is balanced and a textural fruit driven finish. A good wine.
Montes’ Alpha syrah from the 2010 vintage is bright in the glass, with a deep intensity purple in colour and evident tears. It has clean and towards pronounced intensity aromatics of tomato bush, sweet oak, fresh herbs and plums. On the palate, the wine is dry, with medium acid, high tannins that are chalky and a little rough, full body, medium intensity flavours of tomato bush, dark plums, overripe blackberries and oak. The quality is acceptable due to the sheer concentration of the fruit in this wine, but it tastes a little out of balance with very high tannins and the stalky/tomato notes seemingly out of step in the wine. It is ready to drink now. Acceptable
Abv: 14.5% Price: $18 Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/ Website: http://www.monteswines.com/en/ Region: Colchagua Valley Tasted: 2014 Subscribe: Please enter your email address in the subscription icon on the right of screen to keep up-to-date by email. You will not receive any advertising, nor will your information be shared.
Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Lafite took over Los Vascos estate in Colchagua in Chile in 1998. The estate has a substantial 580 hectares under vine, is situated at a warm 34.3c of latitude (south) and has vines planted from 15 to 70 years of age. The result in the 2006 vintage here is quite a remarkable wine. It has aromatics of cloves, bay leaf, dried herbs, a touch of tomato stalk and a savoury and sweet red spice character. The palate has ripe tannins, hints of sweet cassis, notes of clove, ripe blackberry and ripe dark cherry verging on opulence in terms of expression. The finish is long. Overall, quality is very good due to the long length and complexity of this wine. Frankly, this is a compelling wine, even without its modest price tag. If every vintage is this good, I have a new regular purchase here. Very Good