"Savoring Chile, One Sip at a Time" – by Carolyn Koenig

“Savoring Chile, One Sip at a Time”
by Carolyn Koenig
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Spinnaker Wine Tasting - Photo by Mike Moyle
Spinnaker Wine Tasting - Photo by Mike Moyle

As with all things vino, the proof is in the tasting. And tasting we BATW members did, at our January event at the Spinnaker restaurant in Sausalito.
The theme of the meeting was Sausalito’s sister-city relationship with Viña del Mar, Chile—located near Valparaiso—and wine is one of the big connectors. We in California share a similar Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers, and geographic features such as rich, fertile valleys, mountains (in Chile’s case, the really steep Andes) and the Pacific Ocean—all of which combine to provide ideal conditions for grape growing.
Currently, about 290,500 acres of wine grapes are under production in this long, narrow sliver of South America (about 2,700 miles long and an average of 110 miles wide). Interestingly, due to Chile’s unique geography, all of the vine roots are natural—no grafting—as there are no pests to damage them (specifically phylloxera).
Rebecca Chapa, West Coast ambassador for Wines of Chile, a trade group that promotes Chilean wines, offered these samples, with a reminder that “There is a Chilean wine to suit every palate and every dish”:

  • Castillo de Molina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc San Pedro 2010, Elqui Valley
  • Eco Balance Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Emiliana Vineyards, DO Valle de Casablanca
  • Vina Chocalan Sauvignon Blanc Seleccion 2010, Maipo Valley
  • Matetic Vineyards EQ Pinot Noir 2007, DO San Antonio
  • Los Vascos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Colchagua Valley
  • San Pedro 1865 Carmenere 2009, Maule Valley (my personal favorite)
  • Apaltagua Carmenere Reserve 2010, Colchagua

“The wines were chosen to show the diversity of what Chile has to offer and the different styles of wine that are successful across its wine-growing areas,” Rebecca said in a recent interview. “Amazingly, the country has just about every type of climate that you could imagine; thus it is ideally suited to grow multiple varieties successfully.”
Of note, she said, is the fact that “Distinct flavor profiles in the wines from various regions are unique, so sauvignon blanc grown in Elqui versus that grown in other areas (Casablanca and Curico in this case) differs pretty significantly.”
Thanks go to Rebecca—and Paula Tejeda of Chile Lindo for the empanadas that accompanied them—for the opportunity to savor this taste of Chile.
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