Wine Reviews: Chile and Argentina

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-14-2021

It’s been a while since I’ve delved into some wines from Chile and Argentina, so I’m excited to share some new offerings.

Three reds from Argentina make an appearance in this report, and the Mascota Vineyards Unanime brand show juicy, lively styles that are great for a slight chill on a warm evening.

Most of the wines in this report hail from Chile, and these producers are also touting their sustainability efforts. Koyle is a biodynamic producer that gets 40% of its power supply from solar panels. And Emiliana is one of the largest organic and biodynamic producers in the world. What I love is how some of these producers are able to utilize these methods and produce delicious, interesting wines at super reasonable price points.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2017 Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon Medalla Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $20
Light purple color. Vibrant but deep nose of black cherries and raspberries with rose petals, clove, cigar shop and sweet cocoa. Medium-bodied, smooth tannins, lively acidity. Tart blueberry meets juicy black cherries, and the fruit is topped in notes of mocha, tobacco, mint, rose petals. Nice earthy and tar tones, too. All Cabernet from estate vineyards, aged 18 months in French oak. (88 points IJB)

2017 Mascota Vineyards Pinot Noir Unánime Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco
SRP: $25

Medium purple color. Smells of bright blueberries and black cherries, tossed with leather, tobacco, notes of iron, graphite and dusty earth. Structured well with round-edged tannins and vibrant acidity. Darker style but still fresh, with tangy black cherry fruit, which plays well of notes of potting soil, charcoal, graphite, leather, clay. A lot of complexity packed in here, and it gets more and more expressive with air. A Pinot Noir with this level of balance and depth at this price point is impressive, and from Argentina, no less. Aged 12 months in French oak. (89 points IJB)

2017 Mascota Vineyards Malbec Unánime Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $25

Deep ruby color. The aromas pop with ripe plums and black cherries, deep fruit with notes of smoky earth, anise, warm fallen leaves, some vanilla, too. Medium-bodied, velvety smooth tannic structure, crisp acidity. A juicy but pleasant feel to the fruit (black cherries and figs), along with fallen leaves, cola, earth and some vanilla. Ripe but nuanced, this has a lot to offer. Aged a year in French oak. (89 points IJB)

2019 Viu Manent Malbec Secreto Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $15

Medium purple color. Ooh, the nose cranks with spice (sage, pepper, grilled steak) along with plums and juicy black cherries. Medium-bodied on the palate, delightful acidity with smooth tannins. Tart currants and chew plums blend well with a host of pepper, charcoal-grilled meat and violet petals. There’s a nice depth of texture with lots of spicy and earthy complexity. I was shocked to see this price point. Includes a “secret” blend of 15% other grapes. (89 points IJB)

2019 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva “Serie Riberas” Palo Santo Vineyard Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley, Marchigüe
SRP: $17

Vibrant purple color. Aromas of tart plums and currants, laced with oregano and mint, along with leather, campfire, dark chocolate shavings and some graphite. Full-bodied with nice grip and moderate acidity. Tart plums and rich blackberry fruit blends well with lots of delicious, spicy tones of bell pepper, sage and coffee. Notes of tar, graphite and vanilla add complexity. Rich but savory, nice and lively, this could even age. Really good stuff for the price. Includes some 5% combined Carmenere and Syrah, aged 10 months in 21% new French oak. (89 points IJB)

2019 Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Organic Red Blend Chile, Maipo Valley
SRP: $20

Light purple color. Nose pops with sweet plums and currants, cocoa, tossed with coffee, anise and spicy black tea. Jammy and rich on the palate with medium acidity and smooth tannins. Flavors of plum sauce and currant jam are whipped together with spicy pepper, mint, charcoal and violet petal and earth tones. Fun, accessible, grill-friendly wine that has a ripe appeal but also spicy, floral complexity. 31% Cabernet Franc, 26% Syrah, 22% Carmenere, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 12 months in 20% new French oak. (87 points IJB)

2018 Viña Maquis Cabernet Franc Gran Reserva Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $24

Deep ruby color. Ripe but tangy fruit on the nose (black cherries, plums) along with lots of spicy pepper, paprika, black tea, warm clay, violets – really inviting and complex. Medium-bodied, nice dusty tannic grip, fresh acidity – the balance is lovely. Tart plums and juicy red and black currants, suave and tangy, and this has a delightfully spicy mix of pepper, coffee grounds, tar, violets, roasted red peppers and potting soil. Seriously complex and vivacious, this is a gorgeous Cabernet Franc for an awesome price. Aged one year in French oak. (91 points IJB)

2018 Viñedos Emiliana Coyam – Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $35

Deep purple color. The nose shows deep plums and blackberries along with smoky earth, graphite, warm rocks, sweet pipe tobacco and some smoked meat tones. Deep and suave on the palate with nice grip and vibrant acidity – so fresh. Tart currants and black cherry fruit, laced well with earth, iron, minerals, spicy pepper and pepperoni tones. Complex, deep but fresh, this is beautiful and should improve nicely over the next 42% Syrah, 39% Carmenere with Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Malbec, Carignan, Tempranillo and Mourvedre. (90 points IJB)

2019 Viña Koyle Carménère Gran Reserva ­ Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $17

Deep ruby color. The nose is ripe and spicy with cherries and blackberries, mixed nicely with tar, chewing tobacco, freshly-paved road, and some cool soy and roasted red pepper tones. Crisp acidity frames this wine nicely, a dusty tannic feel, this is fresh and fun with cherries, raspberries and red plums, a tangy and bright approach with the fruit. Notes of black pepper, clove, dried rose petals, black tea and scorched earth adds complexity. Fun but complex and balanced wonderfully, this is a brisket-friendly Carmenere with 10% Tempranillo and 5% Petit Verdot, aged 14 months in French oak. (90 points IJB)

2019 Viña San Pedro Cabernet Sauvignon 1865 Selected Vineyards Chile, Maipo Valley
SRP: $15

Medium purple color. Lovely nose of black currants and blackberries, with tobacco, violets, warm clay, some vanilla and cedar. Silky tannins on the palate with vibrant acidity and a nicely balanced feel. Tart currants and smoky black cherries are woven together with anise, loamy earth, tobacco, with some dark chocolate shavings and coffee. Accessible and fun, but sports solid complexity for the price point as well. (88 points IJB)

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