Richards releases his top 10 Chilean wines
Peter Richards MW has chosen just ten “five star” wines – and shared them exclusively with db – in his inaugural Chile Wine Brief.
The electronic publication, which was released for the first time last week, contains just over 50 pages of analysis, reviews and recommendations on Chilean wine, as well as drawings by Peter’s sister Helen, an architect by trade.
Introducing the document, Richards, who is widely regarded as the world’s leading commentator on Chilean wine, described his new publication as “a peek behind the scenes of Chilean wine” which is “intended for everyone from producers to the global wine trade to students and everyday wine lovers.”
Although he admits the report is not exhaustive, it’s certainly extensive and easy to read, with a mix of articles on Chile’s key grapes and regions, as well as punchy reviews of the country’s leading producers.
Richards also ranks his top ten producers, star winemakers, best value wineries, as well as listing “ten to watch”.
Furthermore, having reviewed over 130 wines, he picks out just ten labels which he describes as “sensational” and has awarded his maximum rating of 5 stars.
Richards has released these wines, and his tasting notes, exclusively to db, and you can see his selection over the following pages.
Richards is also offering db readers a 10% discount off the £15 charged to download the first edition of the Chile Wine Brief.
To take advantage of this offer click here and enter the coupon code cwb2013pr2.
To view his top ten scroll through the slideshow.
Aristos Duquesa d’A Chardonnay 2008 (Cachapoal, 14.5%)
A new dimension for Chilean Chardonnay. Baroque, decadent, sumptuous, savoury – it blew a decent Montrachet out of the water at a recent dinner.
Cascading flavours of toasted nuts, baked red apples, buttered toast and fresh morels are harnessed into a precise, invigorating and uplifting finale.
RE Velado 2009 (Casablanca, 14%)
A wine that delights and bewilders in equal measure. Serendipity marks it: Pablo Morandé Sr relates how some barrels of Pinot Noir were lost after the 2010 earthquake.
When rediscovered, they had a film of yeast growing on them; Morandé decided to blend them and make this esoteric but virtuoso wine that tastes like a cross between Fino sherry and flat (but wonderfully invigorating) vintage champagne. Structured, complex, replete, shocking, delicious.
Casa Marín Miramar Riesling 2010 (San Antonio, 12.5%)
Tasted blind, I had this as a top Wachau Riesling. Steely, slatey, smoky aromas combine with lime and green apple.
The bracing palate profile has wonderfully vibrant acidity superbly balanced by juicy fruit succulence.
Harmonious, young, ravishing. This will develop well in bottle too.
Matetic EQ Syrah 2007 (San Antonio, 14%)
The best vintage of this benchmark wine – so far.
Matetic is re- forming its ‘A-team’ so expect great things to come but for now this is its high-tide mark: a dense and brooding yet super focused, fine and sexy Syrah.
Packed full of peppery, savoury, dark fruit flavour with a svelte, resonant finish. An emotional experience.
Santa Carolina Estrella de Oro Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 1967 (Macul, 13.2%)
Confounds the theory that lighter-bodied Chilean wines can’t age. Haunting tobacco, malty, dried herb aromas.
The colour is amazingly young and the wine is still vibrant and full of life and character. Such a shame this Macul vineyard has disappeared under Santiago’s concrete sprawl.
Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 (Maipo, 12.5%)
Elegant bouquet of tobacco, warm gravel and dried dark fruit.
On the palate, refined in texture and resonant in flavour, brilliant with ribeye steak.
An instructive, historic wine.
Errázuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2012 (Aconcagua Costa, 13.5%)
Really quite pale for Chile, with a lovely sappy floral fresh summer berry fruit nose.
Grown up. Beautiful piercing acidity, sappy and direct.
Thirst-quenching and moreish – this represents a new dimension in Chilean Pinot.
It falls away a tiny bit on the finish – perhaps a vintage thing – but it’s a heart- thumping wine.
Undurraga T.H. Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Pirque, 14%)
Beautiful focus, purity and elegance: this wine is becoming one of Chile’s finest Cabs, the result of much hard work in the vineyard by the Undurraga team.
Shows restrained dark berry fruit and mint notes and lovely silky yet firm texture.
Calyptra Gran Reserva Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Cachapoal, 13.5%)
Complex and intense, with a richly textured yet invigorating flavour profile.
There are a few smart oaked Sauvignons in Chile but to my mind this wine leads the charge.
It has a whiff of Bordeaux’s grapefruit, tangerine rind and mineral character but it’s pretty full throttle stuff, with preserved lemon, nutty and clotted cream complexity.
Viña Leyda Reserva Syrah 2011 (San Antonio, 13.5%)
What I love most about this wine is the way it combines amazing freshness with complexity.
Notes of roasted meat, dark fruit, black pepper lead into a dense yet refreshing flavour profile that is savoury, elegantly textured and wonderfully persistent.
My high mark also rewards this wine’s exceptional consistency and value for money.