Wines Of Chile – 2011 Grand Tasting
June 15, 2011
Some necessary air travel south and a transfer at JFK, made a fortuitous intersection with the timing of the 2011 Wines of Chile Grand Tasting, being held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. If you need to have a layover, it’s nice if it can be productive or fun time, and in this case, it was a bit of both.
I’ve wished to attend this event, for as long as I have known about it, but things have never lined up, so I made the jump this time.
The Jet Blue service out of Burlington, VT tends to be fast, convenient, and the link in JFK can take you anywhere you might need to go. Baggage storage and a couple of cab rides with very friendly drivers facilitated the visit, and while I had to leave the trade session a bit early to catch the next flight, and could not attend the public tasting, I did get there early for once, and made the best of the time available.
A number of Chilean wine makers were pouring, and of course I plugged them for all of the information that I could get, about their process in the vineyards and in the wineries. Having some familiarity with the region, I was able to short circuit the orientation spiel that representatives so often need to predicate a tasting with, and get right down to business with the wines. The session for the trade was very well attended, and I could only imagine the crowds that would appear when the public gate was opened.
While at the Vina Casas del Bosque table, talking to winemaker Grant Phelps, his eyes averted to the person who had appeared next to me, and he said “Hi Josh, thanks for coming”. The personage in question was none other than Joshua Greene, publisher and editor of Wine & Spririts. I was able to taste next to him for a couple of tables as he made his way down the line, and we briefly chatted about the very special Chilean archeological site we had both visited, “Valle de Encanto” which is situated in the Limari valley. He was moving steadily and with a purpose, so I did not shadow him, and so missed my opportunity to tout the wine and food scene in Vermont. Apologies to my Green Mountain gastronomic compatriots, I will try to remember the shameless plug in the future…(in the off chance that Mr. Green comes across this post, give us a shout, we’d love to give you a taste tour).
Across the board, the wines were very well made, and their suggested retail price points continue to reinforce the amazing quality-to-price ratio that Chile offers. While not known for its white wines, Chile is producing some very nice Suavignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and in general, almost every winery in attendance had a pair on offering, sometimes two of each where they have “Reserva” level product. The reds of course, ranged from good to stunning, with some of the icon blends knocking my socks right off.
I took many notes and was moving fast, so they will take a little while to sort through…