Who loves themselves some Chilean wine? I know I do. That’s why I was excited to attend the Wine Society Chilean Wine Tasting in London this week. Wine Society bashes are always lustrous affairs, part down to wine, part down to venue. For this event, the Society chose London’s Merchant Taylors’ Hall as a venue and it was packed with Wine Society members who flocked to try the latest range from the UK’s best wine club (according to the Independent and, well, me).
What stood out at this tasting was the exceptional freshness and clarity of the wines chosen by the Wine Society’s Chilean wine buyer, Toby Morrhall. The whites possessed real zing and concentrated, fruit forward flavours while the reds showed exceptional balance. This group of wines, from the length of Chile, benefit from Morrhall’s careful selection process as we avoid the worst hit regions of Chile’s patchy 2016 and 2017 vintages. The tasting also benefited from some older vintages including 2012 and 2015, two highlight vintages of the last 10 years in Chile.
My tasting notebook, kindly provided by the Society on arrival, shows signs of chronic underlining with every page dog-eared – the tell tale signs of a great tasting! Here are my notes on the star buys from this years Wine Society Chilean wine range.
Wine Society Chilean Wine Tasting 2018
Here’s a selection of the best wines for quality and value offered at the tasting with my notes attached. This tasting once again proved that Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon have found a natural home in Chile.
The Society Exhibition Limari Chardonnay 2017 – 88 points – £9.95
Good weight, freshness and balance, fine acidity, tropical fruit on the nose with candied lemon and pineapple notes through to a decent length on the finish. For under £10, this wine offers value in spades.
The Society Exhibition Alto Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – 89 points – £13.50
Deep, dark, ruby red, minty dark fruits on the nose, another well balanced wine packing a bit of heat on end with that 14.5% alcohol. Chunky tannins, the most serious of “The Society Exhibitions” of the night.
Cono Sur Silencio Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2011 – 96 points – £62.00
Wow. Sediment alert. This is one serious, blockbuster, polished chunky monkey wine. I’m in love with this wine. This is Chilean Cab at its Napa imitation finest. Blackcurrant and cedar all the way to the bank with chocolate and mint accomplices. The length is super long and the quality telling throughout. No one has ever awarded this wine 96 points so I’m either dead wrong or dead brave! Try for yourself!
Koyle Cerro Basalto Alto Colchagua 2014 – 92 points – £17.00
Deep ruby red, bright, high fruit and herbal nose with touches of olive and my favourite of the Basalto wines in the range. Bit tomato leafy like a Brunello which surprised but a quality wine with a long finish and interesting fruit forward flavour profile. Good Value.
Maycas del Limari Quebrada Seca Chardonnay 2014 – 93 points – £22.00
A pale lemon wine that excites the nose with Starburst flavours, typically barrel aged Chardonnay notes with pineapple, lemons and creams at the fore. This is a well made wine that has a concise range of flavours that follow from nose to palate to finish. Very pleasant with food or stand alone. Will improve. A case buy.
The Society’s Chilean Pinot Noir 2017 – 88 points – £8.25
The best of a disappointing bunch of Pinot Noirs for value at £8.25. Classic strawberry, cranberry nose with good balance throughout. Not knockout, but good value Pinot Noir.
Undurraga Altazor Alto Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – 92 points – £26.00
Can’t get more Cab than this. Classic cedar and blackcurrant with a touch of leaf on the palate to join the fruit. Enjoyed the nose more than the palate but still well balanced and enjoyable. Well made wine.
Neyen Apalta 2013 – 93 points – £34.00
Deep and brooding ruby red in the glass. This wine was tight on the nose and needs more time or suffered a bit due to the 2013 growing season. The palate offers lashings of beautiful dark fruit but the tannins suggest this should be held for at least five more years. Well made, dying to burst into song, but one for tomorrow.
To see the Wine Society’s full range of Chilean wines click here.