Tue 5 Oct 2010
Location matters in retail, real estate and winemaking, and perhaps in wine-tasting too. My group visited Veramonte in the cool Casablanca Valley, northwest of Santiago, yesterday afternoon — and it was pretty damned cool, I’ll say; I was glad that I brought gloves and a scarf –and we rode out and up into the vineyards, stopping at mid-rim of a wide shallow valley to taste the Veramonte Reserva Merlot 2009; “Reserva” is the winery’s basic level of wines, widely available in the United States. Yesterday was not only cool but cloudy and intermittently foggy; the wine was served at what seemed like true “cellar” temperature, bringing out the merlot’s minerality and clean acidity. In fact, I was impressed by the wine, which felt lively, intense and pure. It ages about eight months in French and American oak barrels, 20 percent new. Though previous vintage have contained smidgeons of cabernet, the ’09 is 100 percent merlot. Classic notes of black olive, cedar, bell pepper and tomato skin are permeated by intense and concentrated scents and flavors of black currants and black raspberries, the whole package inundated by a pert and penetrating graphite element edged with smoke and bitter chocolate. Drink with burgers, hearty pizzas and pasta dishes, steak and roast pork. Expert winemaking here to produce an inexpensive wine that feels a bit above its station. Very Good+. About $10 to $12, a Great Bargain.