Posts Tagged ‘South America’

I have no idea what possessed me to buy another South American wine; and one from the most mass-production oriented sections of the most abused appellation in all Argentina.  Unless any of you can convince me to taste another South American vino, I’m off them for good.

I’m having a difficult time writing this review as I can’t think of anything really nice to say about this vino.  Its alcohol-forward on the nose, powerful scents of cherry and shale, a gravelly mouth-feel, flavors of mealy dampness and a lingering tarry finish of smoke and creosote.

So I guess this vinoblog entry is as much a washout as this gloppy stuff is.

At ~$13/bottle, its not even a value purchase.

No more South American wine for me unless YOU can convince me otherwise.



image credit – reposted with source credit going to WineAlign.  thevinoboy .com makes no claim to ownership and reposts under fair use provisions for review and critique.

What I have here is another example of why Chile should not make wine.  The Errazuriz Estate is located in the town of Casablanca roughly 100km due west from the capitol of Santiago. The moderating influence of the southern Pacific Ocean provides a cool macro-climate while the Andes Mountains to the east ensure good rainfall.

The color is a strange green-tinged yellow with a serious scent of pineapple and durian.  On the palate of a Chardonnay, one would expect a very still, decent mouth-feel, often tropical flavors of papaya and passion fruit.  This vino has an obvious and pronounced crackling  sensation on the tongue that is decidedly harsh. Past that, a hint of banana flavor is followed by a sustained herbal finish reminiscent of tomato leaves.

A new release at LCBO/Vintages for ~$11/btl, there are many other tastier more varietally pleasing chardonnays out there in this price range.  A definite shock to the palate away from what a normal unoaked chardonnay is supposed to taste like.



**image credit – the winery.  Republished under Fair Use Provisions for Review and Critique.

A new release in the Vintages Section of my local LCBO came up with this impulse purchase.  Before you rang on me for going Chilean even when I’ve said before I’m off Chile for a while, this is a Reserva AND its a new release.

Unsolicited and greatly appreciated, a friend and avid reader of this meager vinoblog sent me a gift card to the LCBO.  I will not disclose its amount but suffice to say, the next few reviews may definitely be on the higher side of the “Moderate” category.

A pale yellow in color, there are decent scents of lime, green apple and a little fresh-cut grass.  The immediate flavor is light, lively & tangy with pear, honeysuckle and limestone.  The finish is heightened by the under-layer of minerality, leaving the palate clean and ready for another sip.

Affordable at ~$13/btl at the moment, this Maule Valley offering is not a bad wine at all for a Chilean vino.  I had this with garlic-steamed Rock Cod and a mushroom rice.  Would be good with wine-steamed mussels or possibly buttery shrimp scampi.




**images credit – Google Images search results and grabbed the first decent bottle portrait i could find.  Republished under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

So…  As promised, I’ve decided to revisit the South American Malbec.  You may recall my review of the FuZion Malbec Reserva 2008 and how I kinda sorta didn’t quite like it.

Also promised was to keep an open mind with the value-for-money aspect of some of these budget-priced wines from various parts of the globe.

I tried, my friends, I really and honestly tried.

This dark-purple goop smells like a dirty ashtray to which rubbing alcohol has been added.  Its chalky texture carries flavors of Mackerel and petrol to the palate and lingers most dolefully with essences of sour cherries and liniment to remind you of just how yucky this wine is.

Pop-for-the-dollar considered, you can do A LOT better than this for only $8/blt.  Try it for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t offer some advice.

Even paired with the suggested stuffed pasta (I had  cheese tortellini in beef&tomato sauce), I truly wish I could have set aside my honesty and given this vino a decent review, but I just don’t feel it.



**image credit – Google Image Search Results – used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

++the website for the actual winery is infected with a malware/spyware virus and my security suite prevented it from loading.

Ok, so I thought I’d be steering clear of Argentine wines for a while, but I have been hearing some conflicting reviews about this Syrah. Syrah is very similar to Shiraz but with subtle varietal nuances. 2008, as we’ve explored in previous posts, was not a very good year in most viticultural areas in South America; some wineries elected not to even release any wines vinted as 2008. This said, 2009 seems to be a much better crop hence a more refined final product.

Soft and supple with a medium body, this dense dark red wine carries flavors of mulberry and blackberry to the palate as lingering essences of anise and plum keeps the palate interested.

I savoured this Trapiche Syrah 2009 with my dinner of braised lamb shanks. May I also suggest a smoked Gouda drizzled with ancient Balsamic vinegar as an appetizer? For a budget-priced wine at around $9/blt, its definitely a great value for the cash.


Six hours due south of the Calchagua Valley as the crow flies lies another cordilleran valley called San Javier. Directly descended from French migrants, the estate of the current Bouchon family produces a modest series of wines.

This very pale yellow Sauvignon Blanc has a nose of pineapple and urea. Its very light body carries a delicate spritzich on the tongue that gives the only hint of it actually being in my mouth.  In this vinoboy’s most humble opinion, there is no flavor to think of than to liken it to that gilded puddle left behind after a kitty who has just visited the litterbox. Though the label offers suggestions of lightly seasoned fish to linguine with clam sauce, I’m not sure I’d be willing to be that adventurous.

One hundred eleven years and still working on it.  They’ll get it eventually.


On the other side of the Andes, to the west of Argentina is the country of Chile. As in my last post, I spoke about the rediscovery of original un-grafted pre-Blight French rootstock from all over the viticultural regions of France. Quite a few of these migrant plantation workers ended up in the Calchagua Valley.  The macro-climate is typical Mediterranean-esque and seasonal variations are minimal. There are a few areas of mass-production; there are also a few smaller estates.

This inexpensive wine has a moderate stone-fruit nose with hints of roasted coffee. The body is medium with a muddled palate that makes me feel like this Cab wants to be more than it actually is.  Its very alcohol evident, the tannins are overly strong and the finish lasts a little too long for comfort.

I had this with grill-fired flat-bread pepperoni & mozzarella pizza hoping the acidity of the wine would cleanse the oiliness of the pepperoni from the tongue.  It did that, surely, but the linger of the wine affected the taste of every other mouthful of pizza after that. 2009 was an exceptionally hot and dry season for this area of Chile, so some vines and fruit may have been more dehydrated than others.  That is one of the reasons I’m trying to stick to Reserva estate-grown Chilean and Argentine wines for the 2009 season. I guess the sorting and separating of the affected fruit wasn’t as careful as they’d hoped, in my opinion.  Still though, not a bad wine.


From the estate of the Familia Zuccardi, I have the FuZion Malbec Reserva 2008 from the Mendoza region of Argentina.

Along with other varietals such as Seyval and Marechal Foch, Malbec has always been one of those wines found in blended ‘table wines’ that typically sell for $9/gal.  Before I continue, here is a brief history lesson on South American vitis vinifera:

In the mid 19th century, there occurred The Great French Wine Blight. It was caused by an aphid called Phylloxera accidentally introduced into France’s environment when Americans brought vines and rootstock over to France with the hope of grafting and improving both continent’s plants. Eventually, the Blight was slowed by grafting almost all of France’s vines with the the aphid-resistant rootstock from American plants.

During this blight and economic collapse, it is rumored that plantation workers took unaffected roots and fled to other European countries and even to the Americas. Discovered within the last 10 or so years, the South American wine industry has been producing wine from the original un-grafted French rootstock for almost 150 years. Most notable is the Carménère varietal that was almost totally wiped out by The Blight in its native Bordeau.

All this being said in preparation for tasting an historical and true-blue French-rooted wine against my palate, I’m stoked!

So it is with a heavy heart that I am of the opinion that this wine is awful!!

The deep intense purple color and nose of a sweaty sleeping bag brought back repressed memories of my days as a boyscout. The 14% alc/vol would suggest, in this medium-bodied wine, a slow and sensuous legging when swirled in a voluminous glass…  All I could see was a thin slime. Hesitant on tasting this brew, I sipped cautiously – expecting a burning assault of tart nothing.  Alas was I wrong!  Faint hints of stewed prunes and over-dark cocoa followed by wisps of that smoky smell that lingers in your clothes for several washings AFTER the camping trip was my palate’s reward.

Maybe I got a bad bottle or something.  I’ll try to work up the courage to revisit this or similar South American Malbecs in future, but I’m off to scrub my tongue.