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Chilean Adventure

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Welcome to Sendik’s wine blog.  Here we hope to entertain with insider info to what’s happening in the world of wine.  Appropriately, I find myself clean and showered in Cochulgua Valley, Chile after an overnight flight to Santiago yesterday.  Needless to say Chile has been a major player in the wine world for some time.  And while I’ve always hoped of making this trip, the timing now couldn’t be better considering our economy and the wine choices we’re seeing our customers make (presumable because of the economic climate).  However with the exceptional value of so many wines under $10, it’s easy to see why this category is doing so well.

What I’ve learned so far is that this country is very narrow and fertile.  Yeah it looks narrow on a map, but driving between the Andes and the coastal range put a whole new spin on narrow.   We have palm trees right out my window and snow covered mountains surounding us.   The valleys between the mountains are filled with farms; fruit trees, grape vines, and produce.  Farms flow as far as the valley goes until it runs into another mountain.  It’s winter and the vegetation still grows.  Saying its fertile is an understatement.

A couple of days into my trip now we’ve been forced (HA!) to drink Pisco Sours daily.  Pisco is a Peruvian or Chilean Liq made from the Pias, or Mission grape.  Essentially it is a grappa or un-aged brandy.  The Pisco sour is pisco mixed with egg whites and lemon juice, shaken until it froths and best topped with a spash of bitters.  Sort of a Chilean Margarita, YUM!

The food has ranged from so so to WONDERFUL. The best dishes being Ceviche from Corvina (I think this is Chilean Sea Bass, but have yet to confirm so).  And the most unique and wonderful was an appetizer of tender Octopus dressed in black olive slurry, yes the purple color was unnerving but once we tasted it… it was gone!

The vineyards have been beautiful with gorgeous backdrops of rolls hills to the Andes Mountains.  Much like what I knew of the wines this trip has confirmed.  The wines are fresh and snappy always crisp, both reds and whites alike, rarely overpowering, or over alcoholic.  In my opinion the Sauvignon Blanc grape is where this county’s future lies.  It is great at $7 to $15 dollars and really the best the world can offer in the under $10 range.   The least expensive offer an excellent varietal correct nuance of herb with abundant citrus flavors, and make for a great cocktail wine.  As they get more expensive the herbal notes become better integrated and the balance of texture and citrus harmonize.  Yesterday we barrel sampled a reserve (unfiltered) Sauvignon Blanc that was so great that is unfortunate to write we will never see back home.  We will see it in it’s finished form but as a group we concluded an unfiltered wine is best.  The difficulty in stabilizing an unfiltered wine at an affordable price point is one of the reasons it isn’t finished yet and the other is the winery didn’t feel like gambling on what our customers with think of a cloudy Sauvignon Blanc?  Any opinions?  Unfiltered the wine had tremdous texture and really give perfect balance to the zesty citrus in Sauvignon Blanc.

  • bullleggedmamma

    Excellent article, I'm extremely jealous. As a big fan of unfiltered wines, I regard the cloudiness and bit of sediment at the bottom as a mark of independence & quality, though the best unfiltered wine I've had was clear as day!

  • mitchmaloney

    Marc,

    How do you get such a cool job?

    Mitch Maloney

  • marcgoodman

    Go to school, eat your veggies, and listen to your mother. No, seriously, I spent many years working in restaurants and to be honest there was a time I really didn't appreciate wine at all. When I started to learn about wine I found it fun and loved to share what I was learning. From there it's been a wild ride to where I am today. Thanks for your reminder of how lucky I am!! Although the trip to South America was a good slap in the face :)

  • marcgoodman

    Unfiltered wines will settle and thus appear clear unless the sediment gets shaken up. Often reds are unfiltered, though not as easy to see in reds as it is in whites. Don't be afraid of sediment in any form. That's just flavor to an oenophile :0

  • mitchmaloney

    Thanks for the reply, Marc. Actually a lot of us just happen to fall into a career after laying the groundwork that, at the time, we really didn't think would result in where we end up.

    I just saw you earlier this week in Germantown when we talked about the Snooth site and the various wines they recommend.

    I subscribe to a magazine called International Living and in the magazine and email reports just this week they are talking about the low cost compared to the US to buy land already with grapes on it in Argentina and other South American countries where you can start your own winery. Seems like a possible great opportunity.

    Hope to see you soon in Germantown or at the Milwauke Wine tasting experience.

    Mitch

  • kalmond

    Please keep your eyes opened for my very favorite Carmenere and put some info in your blog if you are on to anything. Carmenere turned me on to Chilean wines, and it's my red of preference. Thanks.

  • mitchmaloney

    Good morning, Marc.

    Do you carry any wines from the following wineries in Oregon: Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene? A friend of mine in traveling through Oregon and is most likely stopping at both of these wineries today.

    Thanks,
    Mitch Maloney (the bald guy that shops at the Germantown location all the time)

  • mitchmaloney

    Good morning, Marc.

    Do you carry any wines from the following wineries in Oregon: Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene? A friend of mine in traveling through Oregon and is most likely stopping at both of these wineries today.

    Thanks,
    Mitch Maloney (the bald guy that shops at the Germantown location all the time)

  • vlatimer

    Thanks for the great write up Marc! Chile really is making some amazing Sauvignon Blancs. It's unfortunate you didn't make it up to Limari! It's a hike but such a gem. I'll be out in Wisconsin in June and would love to introduce some wines to you from there. Vina Tabali, their vino will blow your mind.

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