We’ve received a couple of boxes of samples for review from our friends at Vineyard Brands in the last month or so, and because we don’t like to rush through things, we’ve taken our time with them and will be posting our notes in two reports, starting with this dispatch concerning three new selections from the Chilean producer Cono Sur.
As previously reported, Cono Sur has generally impressed us as a winery deserving greater recognition, at least with regard to their whites and much of their Pinot Noir program. They employ sustainable agricultural and organic farming practices, and have maintained CarbonNeutral® delivery status since 2007 , meaning that the CO2 emissions from the shipping of their products have been measured and balanced to net zero through Greenhouse Gas Emissions reduction projects. They make wines in “ranges,” with specific name designations for each; this trio is from their “Organics” range and are certified organic by BCS Oeko Garantie GmbH Germany. Our reservations in the past have been with some of their reds, especially the Bordeaux varieties and blends, which show too much oak for our liking, and these three samples only tend to reinforce previous impressions, both good and not so good. All sell for $11-13.
2010 Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc San Antonio Valley (Colchagua Valley), 13.5% alc.: Clean, medium color, with moderately expressive, varietally correct aromatics that turn aggressive on the palate, with boxwood and mineral dominating the grapefruit and gooseberry flavors. Medium bodied and then some, with zippy acidity and a finish that lingers awhile. The style is so aggressive, if it were a beer, it would be a double IPA, because the boxwood, mineral and acidity have a bite that’s somewhat reminiscent of an intense hoppiness. There’s enough fruit at its core to stand up to all that, however; just make sure that it’s not too cold, or it comes off as rather shrill. I’d like to taste this with a few more years in the bottle, because it seems to have the goods to stand up to some cellaring. Find this wine
2009 Cono Sur Organic Chardonnay San Antonio Valley (Colchagua Valley), 13.5% alc.: Clean, medium color; rich and fairly ripe, with very good intensity of flavor, offering green apple, green bean and sweet pea shaded with a nice underlying minerality. Medium-medium full bodied, with zippy acidity and good length. Very food friendly and an excellent alternative to the low-acid, overoaked counterparts from California. 6 months in stainless steel tanks. Find this wine
2008 Cono Sur Organic Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere Colchagua Valley, 13% alc.: Deep dark color, with a solid core of nice black currant and blackberry fruit that is, unfortunately, awash with way too much oak. Neither Kim nor I can take more than a glass on the initial pour; I return to the crime scene over four successive evenings, and the oak gradually tones down a little and morphs into a balsa-like character, but I can never actually develop a liking for this one. 80% in French oak barrels, 20% in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. Find this wine
Our next report will focus on wines from South Africa and Australia; we’ve also received word that another twelve from Cono Sur are on the way, so stay tuned.
Reporting from Day-twah,