Vinopolpick Thursday – Chile and Argentina

August 14, 2014
South America
An oft overlooked continent for wine, South America is notable for its dramatic diurnal temperature swings, natural phylloxera resistance (in some areas), and lush, aromatic reds.  Below, we are featuring two wineries making fantastic wines at bargain prices: Santa Rita and Dona Paula.
Santa Rita – Chile
The Santa Rita winery was founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez Concha near Alto Jahuel, Chile.  Around this time, Chile was becoming known for its natural resistance to the phylloxera louse, due to its isolation and its inhospitable sandy soils.  Since grafting onto resistant rootstock is largely unnecessary there, most vineyards are planted with original rootstock.  In 1985, the company began focusing on exporting wines and rapid expansion took place shortly afterwards boosted by the reputation and value of the brand.  The winery expanded its vineyard holdings into the Maipo, Rapel, Lontue, Casablanca and Apalta wine regions.Andres Ilabaca is the winemaker for the Medalla Real Gran Reserva line of wines and is one of two lead winemakers for the company.  The Medalla Real wines include grapes from some of the oldest vines of the company.  The Maipo Valley is known for its dramatic diurnal temperature shifts during the growing season with hot, dry summers and moderate winters.  The winery grows mostly Cabernet Sauvignon in its alluvial and colluvial soils.  Whole berries are included in the fermentation, adding complexity to the flavors.  The wine is aged in a blend of old and new oak.  The Carmenere is from the Colchagua Valley, most fruit is from Marchique and a small portion is from Apalta.  It is completely destemmed and undergoes a cold maceration before fermentation.  Ilabaca ages the wine in French oak barrels to add structure.  The Leyda sector of the San Antonio Valley is a major source for Sauvignon Blanc in Chile.  The soils here are mostly granite and clay.  Here, temperatures are moderated by cooling sea breezes from the Pacific.  Ilabaca vinifies the different clones of Sauvignon Blanc separately before blending and ages the wine on its lees for added texture and richness.Santa Rita Wines Arriving August 18thSanta Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley 2009 ($19.95) $11.90 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 88 points 
“A medium-bodied and elegant red, with chocolate and tobacco notes to the ripe flavors of dark fruit, mocha and cola. The supple finish lingers with dried herb nuances. Drink now through 2016.” WS
This is the best price in the USA today!
Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Carmenere, Maipo Valley 2008 ($19.95) $11.90 special, 3 cases available
Winemaker’s comments: 
“Deep and intense ruby red in color with a complex bouquet that combines the variety’s typical fresh black fruits and spicy notes that blend elegantly with rich oak to heighten the wine’s chocolate and vanilla characteristics. The result is a big and flavorful wine that is concentrated and persistent without sacrificing elegance or depth.”
This is the best price in the USA today!
Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, San Antonio Valley 2012 ($14.95) $8.80 special, 3 cases available
Winemaker’s comments:
 “Brilliant light greenish-yellow in color. The great fruit expression shines the spotlight on grapefruit and lemon blossom citrus notes combined with the classic gooseberry and the distinctly mineral finish that is characteristic of the Leyda Valley. Elegant and compact, this is a tremendously balanced wine with vibrant acidity that spreads over the palate as it develops its fruity components and delivers its long fruit-driven finish.”
This is the best price in the USA today!
The next best price is $12.99!
Other Chilean Wines Available Here NowClos Ouvert Carmenere Caquenes, Maule Valley 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special, 24 bottles available
100% Carmenere; non-irrigated vines carbonic maceration, 8 months in old barrels labels inspired by the santiago transit system
Imported by Louis DressnerClos Ouvert Primavera, Maule Valley 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special, 18 bottles available
40% Carignan, 30% Pais, 20 % Cinsault, & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
non-irrigated vine;s labels inspired by the santiago transit system
Imported by Louis DressnerConcha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Chardonnay, Central Valley 2011 ($17.95) $14 special, 3+ cases available
Dona Paula – Argentina
Dona Paula was founded in 1997 by the Santa Rita winery.  They purchased vineyards in Ugarteche in the Lujan de Cuyo sub-region of the Mendoza.  This region runs along the foothills of the Andes Mountains.  It is known for its dramatic Malbecs.  The first vintage was in 1999 and successive vintages were eventually exported in the US and European markets.  The winery has expanded into other regions of Argentina.The Dona Paula Estate wines are from their El Alto Estate in Lujan de Cuyo.  The sustainably farmed vineyards are at a high elevation and experience a large diurnal temperature swing.  The vineyards are mostly alluvial soil, which is low in nutrients and quite sandy.  Grapes are hand-harvested and fermented at cool temperatures to retain the most aromatics.Dona Paula Wines Available Here NowDona Paula Estate Black Edition Red Wine, Lujan de Cuyo 2012 ($17.95) $14 special, 3 cases available
James Suckling 94 points
 “A beautiful red here with light chocolate, berry and nutmeg character. Full body, with ultra-fine tannins and a long, long finish. All here. A blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot. Drink now.” JSDona Paula Estate Malbec, Ugarteche 2012 ($17.95) $11.90 special, 3+ cases available
Winemaker’s Notes:
 “Intense violet color. In the nose, aromas of black fruits, violets and spices. Mineral and graphite notes. Great balance and freshness in the mouth, with good concentration and medium structure. Soft tannins and persistent finish.”

This is the best price in the USA today!
Other Argentinian Wines Available Here NowAchaval Ferrer Finca Bella Vista Malbec, Mendoza 2010 ($119.95) $99 special, 12 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points #10 TOP 100 2012 
“Dark and powerful, yet elegant, with a delicious core of crushed raspberry, blackberry and damson plum notes tightly woven with silky tannins. The minerally finish lingers on with layered flavors of wildflowers, melted licorice and spice box. Drink now through 2020.”Achaval Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec, Uco Valley 2011 ($119.95) $99 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 96 points
 “This pure, racy red exhibits a dark side, with layers of spice, graphite and maduro tobacco to the crushed raspberry, blackberry and concentrated cassis fruit. Needs time in the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2022.”Achaval Ferrer Malbec, Mendoza 2011 ($31.95) $26 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 92 points 
“Very pure, with a beam of raspberry coulis, blackberry and cherry pulp notes that pump out layers of spice, flint and wildflowers. Juicy yet structured, with a mineral edge to the long, savory finish. Drink now through 2015. 13,000 cases imported.”Lamadrid Estate Single Vineyard Bonarda, Mendoza 2010 ($17.95) $14 special, 7 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points
 “Purple in color, it offers up a nose of underbrush, mineral, plum, mulberry, and violets. Concentrated on the palate with good depth, balance, and length, this flavorful effort deftly combines elegance and power, quite an achievement at this price point.”

Lamadrid Estate Reserva Malbec, Agrelo 2011 ($21.95) $16 special, 26 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 88 points 
“Bright, full ruby. Aromas of blackberry, chocolate and fig are at once roasted and lightly medicinal. Fat and ripe but dry in the mouth; boasts a mouthfilling texture but shows less class than the cabernet in this series. Finishes with tongue-dusting, slightly green tannins and notes of smoke and tobacco.”

Vina Cobos Felino Malbec, Mendoza 2012 ($17.95) $14 special, 1 bottle available
Importer notes:
 “Floral notes lead to intense redcurrant, raspberry, black cherry and a hint of vanilla and white chocolate. Very bright on the palate, with fleshy, polished tannins.”



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