2013 Enclave (Cabernet Sauvignon – Maipo Valley) by Ventisquero, Chile

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Enclave – Maipo) by Ventisquero Wine Estates, Chile

We’ve looked at the Enclave before. After several years now, your feedback has only reinforced my thoughts about this wine.

It is a Cabernet Sauvignon without flaws. I have tried to find the slightest thing about this wine that could perhaps be better or make it even better but I can’t. Every time I open one I end up thinking this belongs in a textbook on how you build a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ventisquero Wine Estates is our 2022 Winemaker of the Year and the Enclave sits at the very top of an impressive lineup of evocative wines. A passion project. Head winemaker Felipe Tosso and his team’s attention to every detail really shines here.

If you haven’t already explored their wines, I highly recommend you take a look. They will likely give you pause.

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2019 Grenache by Sierra Vista, El Dorado CA

2019 Grenache by Sierra Vista Vineyards and Winery, El Dorado CA

Deep ruby color. Out of the bottle the air fills with bright berries. Strawberry, raspberry, and red cherries over a backdrop of damp hay, herbs and sweet tea.

Body shows good balance, greeting the palate with a touch of sweet citrus. This draws good tension across a soft, silky if not creamy body of raspberries and cranberries. A subtle sweet vanilla caramel softens an otherwise dry body, elevates the fruit and rounds out crisp, fully integrated tannins. Well played. Hints of spice warmth accompany the experience. Lips are rendered parched in a long dry finish for a Grenache.

Overall a subtle, nuanced wine. Great composition and restraint while remaining approachable to a broad spectrum of palate. I recently had the pleasure of tasting with winemaker Ryan. His style is a bit of a departure from the norm in the region. I look forward to exploring his wines with you. Check them out!

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2014 Syrah (Pangea) by Ventisquero Wine Estates, Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile

2014 Syrah (Pangea) by Ventisquero Wine Estates, ChileWine Estates, Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Felipe and his team of prolific winemakers are quietly putting out wines of head scratching quality, complexity and fidelity, down in Chile. You have to taste for yourself.

Dark semi opaque color. Uncorking releases a punch of ripe fruit aromas. Ripe plums, blueberries and blackberries up front, intertwined with a sweet cedarwood essence reminiscent of Japanese cedar. Granite rocky leather lingers in the back. A subtle bright freshness permeates the stage, closest thing I can think of is sweet minty herbs.

The nose and color are deceiving as this wine does a double-take, pulling back considerably. A medium-light body greets, balanced right down the middle with slightly dry plums and blackberries. Fully suspended fine grained dusty tannins begin precipitating upon the palate immediately, building up thick layers of dusty, chewy grit. Mid-way through a warm spice emerges and slowly builds up to an eventual crescendo in the finish. A thick, weighted mouth feel accompanies the whole experience till the very end, eventually leaving the palate slightly parched, gripping and tingling.

This is a well executed Syrah. I’m not the least surprised, coming from our 2022 Winemaker of the Year. Winemaker Felipe Tosso and his team deliver a fine example of what so great about this region. I recently toured this Vineyard with Angel, the Viticulturist (Ranger of Apalta) last month. I recognize it’s sense of place. Both Felipe and Angel’s synergies really shine here.

Bien hecho amigos!

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2005 Barbaresco (Roncaglie) by Poderi Colla, Alba, Italy.

2005 Barbaresco (Roncaglie) by Poderi Colla, Alba, Italy (DOCG).

Slightly maroon color. Nose is a little shy. Up front slightly under-ripe dark plum, old damp wood leather. In the back, a subtle honeycomb beeswax. As it decants, subtle caramelization adds a touch of ripeness and cocoa.

WOW! Body is very firm up front. Bold attack greets in the form of under-ripe plum and red apple skins. This brings with it, fully integrated, fine grained dusty tannins that grip almost immediately, progressively tightening their vise grip over the palate with each sip. As it breathes, the acidic punch softens into a gentle yet still firm tension across the palate from front to back. Mouth feel is dry, and leathery. Weight is medium-heavy for a Barbaresco. Somewhat bright. Hints of spice linger but none can match the sheer dominating and overpowering force of the tannic grip. Lips are parched shut. As it breathes, some of those tannins caramelize nicely to lend a subtle punctuation of sweetness in the vast dryness of its expression. This has the effect of elevating and ripening the fruit, especially plum. Hints of cocoa develope so faint you’d likely miss it.

Wow. I thought this Nebbiolo might be over the hill but boy was I wrong. It is still standing tall and strong after 17 years. This is an exquisitely crafted wine every cellar should have. This is my last bottle and I sorely wish I had more. I have had a hard time finding this wine for years now. A solid Barbaresco for the Advanced Palate.

Molto Bene! 🍷😙👌🏽

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2020 Garnacha by Lechuza, Spain

2020 Garnacha by Lechuza, Spain

Another great wine recommendation from one of you!

Clear, purple-ruby color. Bright nose with prominent crisp ripe red berries, red cherries, over a dusty hay leather. Secondary notes of beeswax and rose petal perfume linger in the background. Swirling vigorously intensifies the floral notes. Pretty!

Slightly firm ripe body greets with a touch of tension and burst of ripe berries and cherry. Mouth feel is fuller than expected, smooth, and a slight touch fruit forward. A old damp barnwood joins the party shortly after along with and every more boisterous dusty fine grained tannic grit and warm spice. Soon after, the ones left – a dry grip on simmering, parched lips.

This is a very respectable party wine. I like it!

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2020 Nebbiolo by Cantine Elvio Tintero, Langhe, Piemonte, Italy

2020 Nebbiolo by Cantine Elvio Tintero, Langhe, Piemonte, Italia

Bright, clear ruby-purple color. You get that rocky slightly dusty leather essence up front typical of this region. Nose is very shy overall. As it breathes a smoky tobacco emerges. Subtle berries linger in the back. Swirling vigorously intensifies the tobacco leaf. How is this a 2020 vintage??

Body is nicely balanced. Upfront crisp dark plum skins greet the palate with a subtle tension. This tension quickly relaxes as the already medium body thins and stretches out opening up for a good dose of oak vanilla. Plum turns to raspberry, oak softens what would otherwise be a very dry, lean, masculine expression. Fully integrated tannins begin to precipitate upon the palate in thin layers of coating grip which endures through the finish. Gentle spice warmth lingers. My lips are parched.

On the spectrum of Nebbiolo (especially from Langhe), this falls on the lighter side. It is arguably a chillable red. Nicely composed, mature execution, and built to be enjoyed now. This reminds me of the Nebbiolo by Haarmeyer. It shows a much more approachable side of this varietal.

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2021 Albarino by Bodegas La Caña, Rais Baixas, España

2021 Albarino by Bodegas La Caña, Rais Baixas, España.

Rais Baixas as is situated in the Galicia region of northwest Spain.

Bright floral aromatic nose with notes of jasmine, peach, nectarines and sweet citrus. Very pleasant.

Body is nicely balanced. That sweet Meyer lemon zest really pulls forward, drawing a mild tension and lending a little body to a smooth mouth feel. Slightly under-ripe peaches, white plums are followed by a decent amount of minerality that coats the lips in increasingly moist layers. This defines the finish. Warm, moist lips.

This is a nice, well executed Albarino. For the price, an exceptional value and if you’re like me, can’t think of a better introduction to Basque Wine Country. Bien hecho!

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2017 Grey GCM (Garnacha, Cariñena, Mataro) by Viña Ventisquero

2017 Grey GCM (Garnacha, Cariñena, Mataro) by Viña Ventisquero, Colchagua Valley, Chile.

Damp hay, dark plums and cherries. Hints of cola and root beer. Subtle touch of buttery oak. Overall mildly restrained on the nose. Swirling vigorously releases more cherry cola.

A thin, light, shy body greets the palate. A mere suggestion of crisp acidity quickly pulls back leaving a dry almost wispy body. Cranberries and red cherries followed by a very light touch of oak then by crisp, fully integrated tannins. This marks the transition to finish as the tannins proceed to dominate the palate, only to be challenged by a warm spice heat that slowly roars back up from the chest. Both eventually settle for a truce over dry parched lips. Such subtle drama.

This wine is a sleeper. Delicate, subtle, clean, crisp, nuanced. It is likely peerless at this price point and is deserving of far better company. I’m not the least surprised as this winemaker has consistently amazed me over the years. This reminds me why I am going all the way to Chile to visit them. I can’t wait! Bien hecho amigos!

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You can access Ventisquero wines directly from the Ventiquero Wine Club website as well as on wine.com, both linked below.

https://ventisquerowineclub.com

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2019 Artist Blend by William Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill County

2019 Artist Blend by William Chris Vineyards, Hye, Texas Hill Country.

47% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 15% Maurvedre, 6% Tannat.

Nose is all terroir up front with a dusty, clay-like leather. Hints of zest and cola. Touch of plum and dark cherry that slowly develop a subtle honey beeswax essence. A faint touch of herbal eucalyptus notes. As it opens up, a prominent smokey cocoa emerges.

Body is beautifully balanced. Greeting with a gentle acidic attack, dressed in a soft, silky mouth feel. This draws a nice subtle tension across a supple body. Notes of under-ripe dark cherry, plums are nicely complemented by a subtle buttery oak vanilla. Hints of banana peel and cola so faint you’d likely miss them. This whole melange slowly fades across the palate leaving behind a slowly intensifying grip and hint of spice.

What a gorgeous wine. This has to be one of the top 3 GSM blends I’ve had yet. Very nicely executed from its components down to their respective vineyards. Even in a side-by-side tasting against some of the top GSMs in my cellar, it really showcases the the high level of the winemaking program at William Chris. The work Chris and his team do cannot be overstated. Nicely done guys!

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2018 Pinot Noir by Mac Forbes, Yarra Valley, Australia

2018 Pinot Noir by Mac Forbes, Yarra Valley, Australia

Leathery nose greets with a good dose of loamy sedimentary and mineral dirt. Reminds me of that signature Loire Valley terroir. Once you get past this terroir driven nose, a subtle but bright cherry cola emerges. Hints of sweet citrus linger in the back. Swirling vigorously intensifies the leather and red berries. As it opens up, red vines licorice and mineral slate. I like it already.

Body is all business. A subtle zest greets the palate. Bone dry. Subtle hints of oak vanilla provide a counter note while enhancing the cranberry and under-ripe cherry expression. Mouth feel is thin, silky, almost wispy. It’s mineral underpinning reveals itself as a bitter cola as it transitions to a dry finish characterized by thin, crisp tannic grip, lemon/lime zest and white pepper.

This is a proper Pinot Noir. A highly terroir driven wine with a mature execution. I recommend for Pinot lovers with an advanced palate. At 11% ABV you can sit back and enjoy every nuance over and over with little to no palate fatigue. It is light enough, it can easily be enjoyed chilled.

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