Chile and Argentina, the two wine giants of South America, are neighbors with a natural wall between them, the Andes Mountains, that gives these countries two different climates while helping them with the same needed resource – freshwater for irrigation. Unfortunately, as in California, recent winters have somewhat reduced the snowpack needed for runoff. However, as I write this, it is snowing in the Andes, although mainly on the Chilean slopes.
This Dozen has mostly very affordable wines from Chile and Argentina. Also included are some very nice bottles from FEL in Anderson Valley and a Sauvignon Blanc from Gamble Family in Napa Valley worth checking out.
2019 Errazuriz “Max” Aconcagua Valley Chardonnay Reserva ($16). Fresh and fruity, full-bodied with a delightful tanginess in the finish.
2019 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Gris ($27). Very fruity, almost sweet-fruity, with some cherry creamy notes in there – more pizzazz than most Gris.
2020 Gamble Family Yountville Sauvignon Blanc ($27). Complex, rich and fragrant – peaches and plums to go with kiwi and lime. It may taste even better at room temperature than chilled.
2019 FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($31). Rounded, firm apple flavors with a lot of spice and a crisp finish.
2019 Concha y Toro “Serie Riberas” Marchique Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva ($15). Very pleasant drinking with fresh blackberry flavors and some added complexity from herbal, savory notes.
2019 Koyle Alta Colchagua Carmenere Gran Reserva ($15). Fresh, tart-berry fruitiness with a little sponginess (bubbly) in texture and moderate tannins.
2019 Viu Manent “Secreto” Valle de Colchagua Malbec ($16). Lean, but with some warm blackberry flavors at mid-palate and lots of dusty tannins.
2019 Errazuriz “Max” Aconcagua Valley Pinot Noir Reserva ($16). Lively tart cherry flavors that are a different flavor than most French and American Pinots – very lean, a little savory, great with grilled meats.
2019 Tarapaca Valle de Maipo Gran Reserva Red Wine Blend ($16). It floats on flora aromas and red berry fruitiness but has enough savory notes to hold it down.
2018 Maquis Colchagua Valley Cabernet Franc ($18). Red fruits mixed with blackberry – tart with oak-barrel aromas and dusty tannins.
2018 Coyam Valle de Colchagua Red Blend ($35). Very enjoyable in the traditional Bordeaux style with rich but not flashy dark fruits and well-blended mature oak flavors.
2019 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($38). Quite nice – fresh and juicy cherry and cola flavors, but with light spiciness and great maturity of tastes.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
Feature photo courtesy of Errazuriz