One of the things I enjoy about the way Chilean winery’s are often setup is the tier system. Many times a single winery has numerous designations of wines in a variety of price tiers. Most importantly the intent of the wines in each tier tends to be distinct from others. Viña Ventisquero is such a winery. Under the Queulat tier they make Single vineyard wines. The name of this tier comes from a hanging glacier in Southern Chile. Today I’ll look at 2 of the wines in this tier which also features Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah. The Queulat 2012 Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc was made from fruit sourced in the Ledya Valley. This is a single vineyard offering made entirely of Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was hand harvested, and sorted once back at the winery. After a cold soak of roughly 13 hours the wine underwent a slow, fermentation at controlled, low temperatures. Four months on the lees followed prior to bottling. This wine has a suggested retail price of $17.99. Aromas of hibiscus and a boatload of citrusy notes fill the nose of this Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is deeply complex with tart green apples, continued citrus as well as bits of mineral and spice. Lemon ice emerges on the finish along with subtle notes of green herb and continued mineral characteristics. This wine which is gloriously delicious on its own will also work well with many of the lighter foods of summer. What I love most about the Queulat Sauvignon Blanc is the precise intensity from the first whiff to the last sip. It’s got depth and grace to spare.
The Queulat 2011 Gran Reserva Pinot Noir was produced using fruit sourced in Casablanca Valley. Like the Sauvignon Blanc this is both a single vineyard effort and comprised entirely of the namesake varietal. The fruit underwent a cold maceration for 7 days prior to temperature controlled fermentation which took place over roughly 8 days. This Pinot was aged entirely in French oak with 10% in new barrels, 20% in once used and the balance in 3 or 4 times used. The Gran Reserva Pinot has a suggested retail price of $17.99. Cherry, toast, mushroom and bay aromas are all present on the gentle nose of this 2011 Pinot Noir. Red fruits dominate the palate with spice and savory herbs playing a role as well. Sour cherries, spices and wisps of earth are all present on the finish which has solid length. This is a nicely structured wine with firm acidity that will work well with a wide array of foods. Grilled pork chops topped with berry compote would be a particularly fine match.
These are both terrific wines for the money. However the Sauvignon Blanc is a particularly good value; Exhibit A if you will of how Chile often over delivers on price. Most wines of this quality from well known Sauvignon Blanc growing regions would easily command $30 a bottle. Pinot Noir is a quickly emerging varietal in Chile, I’m not sure there’s a more exciting region for this great grape. The strides that have been made in a short period of time are impressive to say the least. This is a solid example that represents a good value. It’ll drink well over the next 4 or 5 years so don’t hesitate to drink one today and lay a few others down for a bit.