On Wednesday night, I had the pleasure of joining a group of bloggers for an online tasting of eight Chilean wines, organized by Wines of Chile. It was the first online tasting that I've taken part in that included live streaming video of winemakers (who were down in Chile).
I've been on a lot of video conferences and similar things in my day job, and I have to admit that the technical portion of the tasting wasn't great (there are better video conferencing services available). Of course, I also had some technical issues of my own -- my wifi kept fading in and out over the course of the evening. And the moderator was talking way too fast and saying way too much. I would have preferred that he take a step back and let the winemakers do their thing. Maybe that happened after I got knocked off of my network.
The wines were all $26 and under, and several varieties were represented, though Carmenere was at least part of the blend for many of the wines, which were:
- Emiliana 2008 Natura Sauvignon Blanc ($11)
- Cono Sur 2008 Vision Pinot Noir ($15)
- Vina Los Vascos 2006 Los Vascos Reserve ($21)
- Santa Carolina 2007 Reserva de Familia Carmenere ($15)
- Errazuriz 2007 Single Vineyard Carmenere ($26.00)
- Undurraga T.H. Syrah ($24.00)
- Haras de Pirque 2006 Haras Character Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere ($21.00)
- Veramonte 2006 Primus ($20.00)
Several of these wines are ones that I've seen around before, and I've even had a few, but I came away with a couple thoughts.
First, my favorite wine of the night was the Los Vascos Reserve, which is a Bordeaux-style blend. It showed great balance of fruit, oak, tannin and acidity. For $21, it's definitely a "buy again" kind of wine.
Second, I'd really like to explore Carmenere more. It's hefty and brings some big tannin to the table, but there is a meaty/earthy/spiciness to it that I really enjoyed, especially in the Errazuriz and the Haras (even if it was a bit hot on the finish).
I'd like to thank Wines of Chile for sending me the 8 wines (and the spittoon and corkscrew) and for hosting the tasting. It's a very interesting concept and maybe it will save organizations like their save money by not sending people on expensive junkets.