Gabe's View

Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

A Look At Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Posted by Gabe on June 28, 2010

I recently took part in a virtual tasting and had the opportunity to sample a number of Sauvignon Blanc’s from Chile. It was an interesting concept, eight winemakers in one room in Santiago Chile, a sommelier hosting from New York City and wine writers at home, all connected via web conference and tasting the same wines. I’d had tons of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc prior to this tasting, but sampling them side by side was illuminating. It showed off not only the variety of climates and terroir but also a host of winemaking styles. Each Sauvignon Blanc we tasted was pretty distinct. What follows are my impressions of the four that stood out to me.

First up is the Ventisquero 2009 Queulat Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit for this selection is from vineyards located in Casablanca Valley. Following slow fermentation at a constant temperature the lees were stirred. The suggested retail price for this wine is $17.

Citrus aromas and a hint of vanilla bean are present in the nose. White peach and mango fruit emerge in the palate. As those fresh fruit flavors head towards the finish they take on a savory edge. Minerals kick in as well as lemon zest and a hint of creaminess. Solid acidity keeps things in check. This is an excellent warm weather wine that will work nicely when paired with light foods

The second wine that stood out was the Undurraga 2009 T.H. Sauvignon Blanc. Fruit for this selection was sourced in the Leyda Valley. The vineyards sourced are planted to three different clones of Sauvignon Blanc. Fermentation occurred over 22 days in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures. The suggested retail price for this offering is $16.

Characteristics of citrus and grass appear in tandem on the nose of this Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors on the palate are very well integrated with lime, minerals and additional citrus fruits playing key roles. The fruit notes turn savory on the finish and they’re joined by increasing mineral as well as spice notes. I found this wine most enjoyable on it’s own where its subtle charms shine brightest.

The third wine I really enjoyed was the Valdivieso 2009 Single Vineyard Wild Fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Fruit for this wine was sourced at a single vineyard in the Ledya Valley. This wine was allowed to ferment with it’s natural yeast and as such none was added. Aging occurred in 500 liter French oak barrels over a six month period. The suggested retail price for this wine is $21.99.

A hint of almond leaps out of the nose first followed by a strong contingent of mineral aromas. Graprefuit is underscored by a hint of barley on the even keeled, well intregrated palate. Ginger, lemon and chamomile are all part of the finish which closes with a burst of creaminess. Fine acidity keeps things in check. This wine will stand up to dishes a notch or two more substantial than the average Sauvignon Blanc. I found this offering to be unique, intense and just lovely.

The fourth wine that stood out was the Cono Sur 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. This offering was made from fruit sourced in San Antonio Valley. All the grapes for this wine were organically grown. The suggested retail price for this offering is $13.

Orange cream sickle and wisps of grass fill the nose of this wine. The palate on this Sauvignon Blanc is full flavored and loaded with fruit; citrus in particular and stone fruit to a smaller degree. The mouth feel is creamy and all these flavors lead to a persistent and layered finish that shows off spice, mineral and green chili notes. Solid acidity keeps this wine nicely balanced. For $13 this Sauvignon Blanc is a steal. It works well on its own and with food. This is a good bet if you want to pour a crowd pleaser for a bunch of people this summer.

What the wines above do is show off a little bit of the wide range of Sauvignon Blanc styles and flavors coming out of Chile. The entry point is relatively inexpensive so it’s a good country and varietal combination to experiment with.

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