Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wines to Watch for in 2008: 2007 Chilean Sauvignon Blancs

With the declining power of the dollar, many are braced for imported wine prices to rise. Still, there are good values out there, and in 2008 my tip for you it to keep your eye of for 2007 Chilean sauvignon blancs. The January 2008 Food and Wine Magazine will give you this same tip. Why? the 2007 vintage was an excellent one, and produced wines with crisp acidity and lush fruit.

I certainly found just this flavor profile in the 2007 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva that I received recently as a sample from the winery. It was an interesting wine to drink for someone who is relatively new to the Chilean wine scene and more familiar with California and New Zealand bottlings of this grape variety. If you haven't had much Chilean sauvignon blanc either, here's how to think about this wine: it's poised perfectly between the New Zealand and California styles. It was pale, almost translucent in color and had aromas of freshly mown hay, honeydew melon, and lemon blossom. It tasted like spring in a glass, with its flavors of melon, grass, and spring flowers--which was a welcome experience on a chilly winter evening. The price? The suggested retail is $11.99, but it's available online for around $10, and I would recommend you keep your eyes peeled for it in your local Costco, where you might find it for around $8. At any of these prices, it's excellent QPR given its freshness, fruitiness, and lively flavors.

If you find New Zealand sauvignon blancs to tart, and California sauvignon blancs too sweet, you may find that Chilean sauvignon blancs are just right--from a taste standpoint, and a budget standpoint. They're definitely wines to watch out for when you're in the shop.

5 comments:

Jason O. said...

Great call. While I think the tanking US dollar should drive people to South America for good value, I also think that Chile's fresh take on Sauvignon Blanc might just save the varietal that seems to have lost its identity recently. I've had the good fortune to have a few recently as well. I haven't found a one over $15 retail and they're seeing about a 75% success rate in my book. I also think that 2008 will be "The Year of Carmenere."

winedeb said...

Just had this one just a few weeks ago and totally enjoyed it!
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas Deb!
My best,
Deb:)

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks to both of you. I agree, Jason, that this was a nice change of pace from grassy and/or melony sauvignon blancs. I will look out for Chilean carmenere--any recommendations? And Merry Christmas to you and yours, too, WineDeb!

Jason said...

Merry Christmas to you, as well!

Of the Carmeneres I've had over the past few years, I really like Casa Silva Reserva. It's a tad more expensive than the average, but still should be easily under $15. As an honest disclaimer I should note that I represent this wine as a local distributor salesman, but plugging the wine is unlikely to benefit me directly. It's just delicious, in my opinion. It's very "Carmenere-y" which is to say rugged and spicy, but it has a nice undercurrent of cherry fruit to make it warm and exotic.

Dr. Debs said...

Jason, thanks for the tip! The bottle is now safely tucked into my K & L wines shopping cart for my next order. I'm looking forward to tasting it.