The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2012

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Page 118 of 124

CHILE Grapes ripen at Viña Ventisquero as harvest time draws near in Chile. Wine Affair A Chilean FRED MINNICK PENS A LOVE LETTER TO HIS NEW PARAMOUR Dear Chilean Wine, We met long ago when I was seeing the Old World and had my nose up in the air toward you younger terroirs. No way your marketing about Chile's 460-year winemak- ing heritage and diverse climate could actually catch my attention. I only dated the French, Germans, Italians, Spanish and Portuguese, not counting an occasional fling with South Africa, New Zealand or California. But you, Chile, set out to change my mind with your forgotten Bordeaux grape called Carmenère. Oh, how I liked your Carmenère's mouth- feel, its gentle and soft round tannins. I fell in love with its consistent notes of rich 118 / the tasting panel / march 2012 berry fruits, spice, chocolate and mocha. After learning you had 8,827 hectares of Carmenère—98 percent of the world's plant- ings!—you had me ready for a date, eager to learn more about your heritage. But I was wary of one-grape wonders. I still wasn't ready to believe you were special. Then I had the opportunity to taste Pinot Noir, straight off the vine, at TerraNoble's Casablanca Valley vineyard, El Algarrobo. The cool climate was made for this grape, and the proof in the bottle matched the com- plex promise on the vine. TerraNoble showed me Chile's intriguing diversity, with vine- yards in three valleys—Maule, Casablanca and Colchagua— ideal for producing not

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