A mixed bag

We’re not having a good run of wines at the moment; these blogs are beginning to sound repetitively negative which is taking on a global aspect. Chile’s Underraga Maule Valley blended Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache (ABV 14.5%) from 2015 was spoilt by a strong cork taint. Despite being decanted for 24 hours this taste dominated what could have been a good wine.

Intense red in colour with a slight purple rim with even the tears showing red, this was going to be pretty full on. Lots of black fruit primary aromas – brambles, blackberries – this yelled a warmish climate but the palate showed a refreshing level of acidity. The Maule Valley is supposed to be one of the coolest spots in the Central Valley area, hence the acidity. The wine had a thick mouth feel with medium tannins and some cassis came though on the palate. Not particularly long, this would have been an interesting wine had it not been for the fault.

[Richard: from the WS, £17. They refunded the cost after I emailed. Something they are very good about, incidentally. A great shame as I like this blend of grapes as used in Languedoc, say and this had the makings of a well made, superior effort. Two other negatives though – a heavy bottle, something South American winemakers seem overly fond of and the alcohol. 14.5 is just too much, although it didn’t taste as powerful as, for example, an equivalent CdP.]

Relief came at last. The 7th Cavalry was in the form of a wine from Navarra, Vina Zorzal’s 100% Garnacha Corral de Los Altos. Although a hefty 14%, this wine bore its weight well and the tannins and alcohol were well-integrated.

Ruby in colour with medium legs, this smelt of cooked ripe cherries as well as the black fruit proclaimed on the web-site. Of medium length, this was savoury, not overly rich in sweet fruit but enough there to make it attractive. It would be a lovely food wine. Btw, the web-site is interesting to read.

[Richard: yes, much more to our taste. £13 from the WS. Another grenache that Rhone wine makers could learn from and one I’d buy again.]




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