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Hi, I'm a Master of Wine (MW) having passed in 1997. I am about to open a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library and this is my wine blog. There should be no conflict of interest between my work with The Wine Library and the opinions expressed herein but I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy. From June 2013 until May 2017 I was the Retail Manager for The Wicklow Wine Company. I was a member of the Council of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events, Trips and Governance Committees Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aconcagua

The Chile trip started the minute we hit the ground at Santiago Airport where we were met by Susana Gonzalez of Brandabout. We drove immediately into the Aconcagua Valley to visit Errazuriz, a winery which is 140 years old this year.
Errazuriz has a long history but, as for almost all wineries in Chile, they really date their wine history to the arrival of Miguel Torres in the 1970s and the decision in 1985 of 5 wineries, including Errazuriz, to exhibit at Vinexpo. In 1983 te estate started to buy up vineyards and to expand and it now has holdings in the Upper Aconcagua, all around the estate and winery, in the Coastal Aconcagua (the manzanar vineyard), in Casablanca (the Escaltura vineyard) and in Alto Maipo with Vinedo Chadwick.
We were met by Soledad Meneses, one of the winemakers, and had an excellent tasting through the range. I have unfortunately mislaid (i.e. lost) my tasting notes so I regret that the next few lines will be from memory. We started with sauvignon blancs, not my favourite grape variety by any means but one wich performs very well in Chile. The wines were from the coastal vineyards and had a combination of lemon citrus notes with some mineral tones. Wines from Casablanca followed which showed slightly more minerality and a hint of green fruits. For me, sauvignon blanc from Chile has a better balance between crisp notes and body than is the case in New Zealand or, for the most part, South Africa. We then moved on to chardonnay, showing lovely breadth on the palate and the Don Max Reserva was very good. Then a pinot noir which had gorgeous bright cherry and raspberry fruits.
The reds were extremely good, with the Don Maximiano being a wonderful wine which needs time to open up and develop fully. In fact, one of the notable points from this tasting was the extent to which the wines over-delivered: at prices around €11.95 for the Estate wines the flavours and structures were of wines which could be aged for a good few years, certainly the reds.
We then had a quick tour around the vineyards and the new winery and barrel hall, which is most impressive, before settling down to a very good lunch. This was my second visit to Errazuriz and I came away asimpressed this time as I had been the first time. I think this is an estate which makes excellent wines of great quality and value, is dynamic and progressive and well worth seeking out.

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