Tastings - Wine & Spirits Magazine


93             J. Bouchon     $20     2022 Valle del Maule Block Series Semillon
This layered and complex semillon grows at Bouchon’s Batuco Vineyard, 18 miles from the coast, where the 80-year-old vines are dry farmed in granitic soils. The wine’s savor has the char of a grilled pepper over an open flame, the dark and mysterious undertones of a mole, the brighter fruit notes of peach and pear. Pour a glass to enter the ancient plant kingdom of the Andes. Vine Connections, Sausalito, CA

92             Miguel Torres     $19     Secano Interior Maule Valley Estelado Brut Rosé País
Lemony and ripe, this pét-nat is vinous, more like a wine with bubbles than a sparkler. It’s not fruity at all; still, with a day of air, the scents of roses and freshly turned earth reveal stone fruits. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL

87             Clos des Fous     $13     2022 Itata Pour Ma Gueule Rosé
Pomegranate-rind scents and buzzy acidity give this cinsault rosé a starchy feel, easy and simple. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY
94             Ana Maria Cumsille     $30     2021 Itata Aguila País
With a resumé that includes stints at Château Margaux and Los Vascos, Ana Maria Cumsille just took over winemaking at Viña Carmen. Meanwhile, she sustains a project in Chile’s south, where she works with growers in Itata for her own range of wines. This fruit comes from Adrian Torres, who farms 2.5 acres of bush-vine país, believed to have been planted around 1800. I’m in love with its scent—cola, coffee and earth, along with fresh red fruit that darkens toward black currant. Detailed tannins keep all the flavors defined and clear, tightly structured around warm, peppery spice and friskiness. I could drink a lot of this in the place of Burgundy, just enjoying how the wine’s beautiful freshness expands for minutes. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY

93             Dominio del Cuarzo     $25     2021 Secano Interior Itata Nipas País
This is a personal project from Felipe Ramirez, a Santiago native who studied in France and now makes the wines at Rose & Arrow in Oregon. Ramirez grows his Itata país at 2.2 acres of dry-farmed bush vines planted in 1880; he ferments it without added yeasts and ages it in neutral French oak barrels. Ramirez’s talent as a winegrower shows in the integration and transparency of this wine, clear in its luxurious feel, dusty tannins and substantial density of flavor. One taster diagnosed it as having "Second child syndrome: Overachieving and not realizing it." Brazos, Brooklyn, NY

93             Vina Maitia     $15     2022 Secano Interior Aupa Pipeno
David Marcel grew up in France’s southwest and graduated from Montpelier with an enology degree before heading to Chile some 20 years ago. He launched Viña Maitia in 2013, working with parcels of ancient vines in Maule’s Loncomilla; he believes the plantings for this 2022 pipeño date to 1895. While the wine tastes completely Chilean, there’s something French in its presentation of youthful berry fruit and tart strawberry length of flavor. A blend of país (80 percent) and cinsault, made in the traditional style of pipeños, without commercial yeasts and aged in cement tanks, this offers pale fruit power without weight. It tastes like raspberries at summer’s peak, a rustic, silken, savory, acidic, refreshing red wine. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY

91             Clos des Fous     $16     2021 Itata Pour Ma Gueule Tinto
A delicious young wine that leaves my mouth tannic and refreshed, this flaunts its Itata character in earthy plum-skin power. Even so, it feels light and nimble, the upfront flavors of golden peach yielding to spicy length, Very ripe, approachable and easy to enjoy. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY

90             J. Bouchon     $15     2022 Secano Interior País Viejo
Bouchon’s old-vine parcels of país give a wine with rustic flavor length—strawberry jam without sweetness—fresh and lasting. Pour it with spicy ground lamburgers. Vine Connections, sausalito, CA

88             J. Bouchon     $20     2022 Secano Interior País Salvaje
Bouchon tends these vines the old-fashioned way, allowing them to climb up a bank of trees that bisects two vineyard blocks. Harvested on ladders, some of the grapes are pale pink, some deeper red; together they build a fleshy wine with scents of raspberry seeds and cherry skins in its tannins. It’s an earthy país with a high-acid buzz. Vine Connections, Sausalito, CA

87             Morandé     $32     2021 Valle del Itata Adventure Colinas de Ranquil País
País with the kind of ripe strawberry essence that might bring to mind grenache, this has dark and somber tannins, the finish a little pruney and sour. Int'l Wine & Spirits, Doral, FL

86             Clos des Fous     $17     2021 Itata Mr Chile
Minty, a little tanky and full, this is a simple, rich red for steak tartare. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY
94             Undurraga     $15     2022 Itata Valley Sibaris Black Series Cinsault
Red red wine. This cinsault feels healthy and completely digestible. It’s delicious, full stop. And it’s crazy that the wine is $15: You won’t find anything for $15 to compare it to. Tastings editor Corey Warren described it as "An X-ray malbec—it has all my favorite parts of approachable malbec, but it’s cinsault and it’s transparent...and tastes like the best blueberry you've ever had." Soilair Selection, NY

93             Dominio del Cuarzo     $25     2021 Secano Interior Itata Guarilihue Cinsault
From vines planted in 1960, organically farmed in granitic soils, this wine ferments spontaneously as whole clusters, then ages in cement. It has the musky spiciness of cologne, with a lasting blueberry freshness. Light on tannins, the texture feels soft and cushioned, while the wine lasts on tannic savor, spicy and brisk. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY
91             Undurraga     $30     2021 Maule Valley T.H. Carignan
Dense and compact in its peppery tannins, in their scents of black currant skins, this is as concentrated as a sweet tomato ragu. All that density gives way to levity with air. Spicy and fine. For bbq. Soilair Selection, NY

88             Undurraga     $35     2021 Maule Valley Vigno
Warm and intense, suggesting old-vine concentration, this dry-farmed carignane has earthy tannins in a simple, airy finish. Soilair Selection, NY

85             Vina Maitia     $16     2022 Maule Valley Weon Carignan
Sweet, simple and warm, this is a beefy carignane, for sweet-and-sour Cantonese beef. Brazos, Brooklyn, NY
91             Morandé     $29     2021 Traiguen Black Series Pinot Noir
Firm, granitic tannins provide a mineral frame around this wine’s cranberry, cherry and strawberry fruit. While the tannins are a bit musky, there’s gentleness to the red fruit clarity. Int'l Wine & Spirits, Doral, FL

89             Undurraga     $30     2021 Malleco T.H. Pinot Noir
With lean flavors of cherries jubilee, tart currants and cranberries, this wine feels earthbound by its clay-like tannins. Soilair Selection, NY

89             Vina Maitia     $14     2021 Maule Valley Roto Cabernet Sauvignon
Simple and giving, this is a generous cabernet that’s clean, rich, toasty and elegant for the price. A pretty amazing value proposition (you might find yourself preferring this to many Napa Valley cabernets that cost three times as much). Brazos, Brooklyn, NY

88             J. Bouchon     $30     2020 Valle del Maule Granito
With scents of blueberry, tarragon and blood, this blend of cabernet sauvignon and carmenère has a red rash of tannins and plenty of alcohol, best served at cellar temperature. Vine Connections, Sausalito, CA

86             Undurraga     $15     2021 Maule Valley Sibaris Black Series Syrah-Carignan-Grenache
This perfumed red is simple, rich with plum jam flavors and bitter, sappy tannins. Soilair Selection, NY

Joshua Greene is the editor and publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine.

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