You must try these 10 Chilean wines from this sustainable winery!
I typically try not to drink on consecutive days, but when you get an invite from a friend to come to his store and check out a stellar lineup of Chilean wines, how can one say no to that proposition?
Changing from my work clothes into a t-shirt and shorts, I waited for Jen to get home from work and we made our way to Wine & Beer 101 in Wake Forest. We were a little early for the tasting, so we decided to pre-game by sharing a glass of Wine 101’s own labeled wine courtesy of Krupp Brothers. The 2017 101 Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley was a classic California cab. We’ll probably end up buying a bottle for our collection of California Cabs in the near future.
Making our way into a small alcove, Jen and I, along with 10 other guests seated ourselves along a red-cushioned sectional couch – which led to a very intimate evening out. Wine 101 owner Joe O’Keefe led the tasting and told us a little bit about the journey we would embark on before connecting with Maquis Winery’s managing director and winemaker, Ricardo Rivadeneira Hurtado via Skype.
The Skype connection was a little on the weak side, but we didn’t care, because it was just enough to hear and laugh along with Hurtado as he told us a little bit about himself and Maquis Winery before we started with our first wine, a Rosé.
The Rosé, which retails for $19.99 had a nice minerality and taste of fresh strawberries. Made using juice from Maquis Winery’s Malbec and Cabernet Franc, this was a nice way to kick off our tasting. Hurtado later informed us that the winery actually grows no white grapes onsite, and that everything from here on out will be purple in color. That sounded fine to us!
Next, we sampled the Cabernet Franc ($19.99). Hurtado, while sipping the wine from his living room in Chile with the fireplace going beside him, mentioned that in his mind, Cabernet Franc is a varietal that is, or can be more elegant than even a Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve heard many winemakers say they don’t like this grape, but I don’t think they’ve tried the Cab Franc coming out of Maquis.
The Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99) and Carmenere ($19.99) were next, respectively. Both of these were elegant wines, and maybe that explains why we ended up with a bottle of each. Hartado told the group that the Cabernet Sauvignon is actually their most popular wine sold in their portfolio, and that it’s one of those Cabs you want to pair with a nice meal. And the Carmenere is another food pairing wine, which would team up well with a nice, rich pasta made with fresh herbs.
The Lien ($34.99) is a red-blend that’s adored by both James Suckling and Robert Parker, giving this wine a 93 and 90 points in their reviews. And according to Hurtado, the 2012 we were drinking came from a very warm year in Chile, which saw smaller fruit but led to a more concentrated aroma and taste. This wine was a blend of Caberent Franc, Syrah, Carmenere and Petit Verdot – another one of our favorites.
Now we’re coming up on the “big boys.” We were next introduced to Viola ($45.99) and the 2013 Franco ($75.99). Viola is produced using the very best fruit on the estate, and is a blend of 85% Carmenere and 15% Cabernet Franc.
The 2013 Franco is a Cabernet Franc which was given 95 points by wine critic Michael Franz. This was the perfect way to end the evening of an extensive portfolio of wines, all led by the winemaker himself. Made using 100% Cab Franc, this wine was also chosen as the “Best Cab Franc of Chile” by Wine and Spirits sister publication, Descorchados.
But wait, there’s more! O’Keefe and Hurtado had a surprise for all of us. Just when we thought 7 wines would be more than enough, they threw down a Franco vertical, which included samples of the 2010, 2009 and 2008 Cabernet Franc.
The 2010 was a lot more well-balanced than the 2013 we just finished. The 2009 was by far our personal favorite and Hurtado explained to us that this wine in our glass took roughly 2 years after it was bottled to become the easily approachable wine it is today. So, what a difference 10 years makes! Then the final wine of the night, the 2008 Franco. One damn fine wine, but to me the roundness of this wine was starting to wind down in both aroma and nose. This was the first vintage of the Franco, and the winery only has a few more of these bottles left in its library.
The vertical wines were sold only in a trio, which comes packaged inside a wooden display. The regular retail price is $250.99, but anyone looking to add a stellar collection to their cellar that evening was able to purchase the trio for $220.99.
It was a little too rich for our checkbook at this point in time, but we’re so glad we got the opportunity to try all the wines from Maquis Winery. And the best part … Hurtado invited each and every one of us out to the winery, where we were welcomed to stay at his house and sit around his fireplace and enjoy a fine meal and some wine. We got your number, Mr. Hurtado!