Wines of Spain, Argentina, and Chile

The Spanish conquistadors- soldiers, explorers, and adventurers, brought Vitis vinifera vines with them to South America in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries as they colonized the region. Their plantings established the first cultivation of the grape and wine production in both Argentina and Chile in the mid-16th century. The most important grape that the Spanish provided that is still around today is the aromatic white Torrontes, thought to be a cross of Muscat of Alexandria (same as Moscatel de Alejandria) and the small Criolla grape.

Soon after the Spanish, French and Italian explorers also brought Vitis vinifera cuttings to South America and planted grape varieties that are common to this day- the French introduced Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, while the Italians cultivated Bonarda (thought to be related to Piedmont’s Dolcetto).

For this weeks tasting we will sample one red and one white from each country, each wine providing a varietally-correct example of its type and region. From Spain we will taste a spritzy, refreshing white that’s reminiscent of the Portuguese Vinho Verde, and a red from Rioja, the best-known region of the country. The Chilean wines include a crisp, tangy Sauvignon Blanc and a Merlot Reserve that’s excellent for the price. From Argentina the white is made from Torrontes, an aromatic and textured indigenous grape, as well as a robust full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, also a great value.

We hope you will join us this Thursday for an excellent tasting!

The specific wines for the tasting are:

Vina Torres Esmeralda 2009– Catalunya, Spain. A blend of 85% Moscatel de Alejandria (same as Muscat or Moscato) and 15% Gewurztraminer. Very clear in color with light effervesence. It’s pretty nose offers floral, spice, and candied fruits with underlying cut grass and mineral suggestions. A savory hint of gingerbread is present as well. The palate is light, minerally, and friendly with notes of pineapple and green apple with slight effervesence followed by hints of pear, citrus and wet stones on the finish. Producer note- “This wine takes its name from the emerald colour of the Mediterranean. A voluptuous, exotically perfumed nose, with deliciously well-defined primary aromas (some floral notes, roses, lilies…), complemented by secondary aromas derived from the wine’s controlled fermentation. Silky and sappy on the palate. An exceptionally delicate and strikingly fragrant wine.” Tasting $14.99

Faustino VII Rioja 2009– Rioja, Spain. A blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Garnacha that aged for 10 months in oak casks, plus 6 months in the bottle prior to release. Sour cherry and rustic notes are present on the nose. Pleasant mild red apple peel and red cherry fruit flavors are enhanced with juicy acidity within this friendly light- to medium-bodied approachable red. Producer note- “Grapes are harvested exclusively from Faustino estate vineyards in Spain’s Rioja region. Color: Lively red, shading to ochre. Aroma: Hint of vanilla and ripe red berry fruit. Taste: Well-balanced, velvety, elegant.” Tasting $11.99

Vina Santa Ema Sauvignon Blanc 2011– Maipo Valley, Isla de Maipo, Chile. 100% Sauvignon Blanc all hand-picked from late February to early March. The juice fermented in stainless steel tanks and was bottled early to keep its freshness and fruit expression. Fresh scents of tropical and citrus fruits- kiwi, pineapple, and sweet fruit undertones of gooseberry and lime. It is juicy and ripe on the palate with thirst-quenching acidity. Producer note- “Color: Bright greenish straw-yellow. Aroma: Intense aromas of fresh citrus and tropical fruits accompanied by notes of apples and pears. Palate: Fresh young wine with good balance and pleasing acidity.” Tasting $9.99

Vina Santa Ema Merlot Reserve 2008– Maipo Valley, Isla de Maipo, Chile. 100% Merlot all hand-picked from late March to mid April. 100% aging in French and American oak barrels for 8 months. Offers a pleasant aroma of dark, sweet briary fruits. The palate is gentle and soft with nicely balanced fruit, spice, acid and tannin. Complex flavors of blackberry and blueberry fruit linger on the finish. Producer note- “Color: Deep violet ruby-red. Aroma: Very fruity wine with aromas of plums, blackberries, and black currant, accompanied by intense notes of caramel, chocolate, and vanilla. Palate: Soft, ripe tannins lend good structure and balance.” 90 Wine Advocate- “Cocoa/chocolate nuances; blackcurrant and cassis, smooth texture, some elegance, lengthy.” Tasting $16.99

Trapiche Broquel Torrontes 2009– Vineyards in Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina; 1750 meters above sea level. 95% Torrontes and 5% Sauvignon Blanc that aged sur lie for 6 months and was filtered prior to bottling. A perfumey, fruity and aromatic nose of tropical fruits, melon, and flowers is followed by a gentle palate that is dryer than the nose suggests. Nice texture and balance combine with mild acidity in the mouth, and are summed-up with a fruit-filled finish. Producer note- “Elegant wine with sweet aromas of flowers and fruits with a spicy character. In the palate, it shows a pronounced acidity that stands out in the freshness.” Tasting $14.99

Trapiche Broquel Cabernet Sauvignon 2009– Las Palmas Vineyard in Cruz de Piedra, Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that fermented in small concrete vats, went through natural malolactic fermentation, then aged 15 months in new French and American oak barrels and was filtered before bottling. Its approachable nose gives-off very pretty scents of spice, oak and vanilla with underlying black fruits. Juicy and ripe on the palate with good texture and a savory, lengthy finish. Producer note- “Rich, perfumed, with a good balance between depth and power. Aromas of cassis and raspberry jam. Elegant touch of smoke, roasted pepper and chocolate. Soft, complex and very long aftertaste.” Tasting $14.99

Some pictures from the Trapiche website:

trapiche grapes trapiche vineyards trapiche alpes

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