After writing about two fun Italian red wines for WinePassionate.com a few months ago, they sent me some inexpensive Chilean wines to try as well. Since I started this blog, I've been fortunate to sample a fair amount of Chilean wine and am continually impressed with the quality levels available at such low prices.
Both are around $12 a bottle and made without the use of oak, something which I was very excited to find out. If you haven't yet tried a red wine that's made without oak barrels or pellets/chips, I urge you to find one and give it a go. There's a certain freshness to the wine, a lively character that's hard for me to describe, but the red wines can take on this refreshing character. A good place to start looking for un-wooded red wines is Beaujolais, another place being the Loire Valley. Usually the prices are low, the quality high, and the wines, while different than their oak-aged brethren, retain a fresh drinkability that's easy to fall in love with.
2010 Trile Sauvignon Blanc Valle Central Chile: I'm not sure what is going on with this wine. When I poured my glass and sniffed it, I smelled what can only be described as my old high school locker room. That kind of musty, gym-sock aroma that was very unpleasant. On the palate, all the flavors seemed muddled and masked. Tasting by a group of friends confirmed this, with everyone expressing dislike and confusion at what had happened. It's possible I got a bad bottle, with perhaps some bacterial contamination, so I won't post anything more on the matter. $35.00 on the website.
2010 Trile Cabernet Sauvignon Valle Central Chile: This pours a very pretty deep red, paling ever so slightly towards the rim of the glass. The primary aroma is green bell pepper, followed by an intriguing smokey, salted meat thing. I did get a hint of burning in my nostrils too, despite the listed alcohol being only 13%. On the palate it's pretty smooth cabernet, with green bell pepper flavors and more earthy, meaty flavors coming out. There may be some fruit lurking at the periphery but it was hard to find. This is a perfectly serviceable, simple cabernet to enjoy as that second or third bottle of the night. Drink now. $35.00 on the website.
**Editors Note: The pricing was recently changed on the Trile wines, from around $12 to $35. Apparently there was a pricing error from the winepassionate.com people.**
The question is whether these wines furthered the trend of high quality, inexpensive wines from Chile. I think the answer is yes. I suspect the sauvignon blanc is very fun and refreshing to drink, and that I just got a bad bottle. As for the cabernet, at only $12, it's a great wine to have on hand for those casual occasions when you've got multiple bottles open and a backyard full of friends. It's a bit green, with those bell pepper aromas indicating under-ripe fruit, but with a slight chill on the bottle, its perfectly quaffable.
If you haven't checked out the WinePassionate.com site lately, you should! Residents of California can get free shipping on any purchase of four or more bottles, which is a pretty great deal! To see my earlier post on Italian wines from WinePassionate.com, click the link.
These wines were media samples.