Last night we tasted three from Santa Alicia of the Maipo Valley of Chile: 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, 2010 Carmenere Reserva, and 2008 Malbec Reserva. Santa Alicia markets a lower priced tier of wines so the "Reserva" designation is intended to separate the two lines, I am sure, and not to imply cellaring for the Sauvignon Blanc. That said, the Sauvignon Blanc could have used some time. It is that popular citrusy style but the 2011 fruit tasted unripe. It sold the poorest of the total of six wines on the table. Six months from now I bet it shows better.
The Malbec showed the best of the three and that may be due to its vintage. 2008 was an average vintage, as these things go, but it was pre-earthquake of 2010 which not only decimated that vintage but due to the devastation, perhaps set producers back in 2011 also. We blogged about this subject here on April 21st of '11.
The 2010 Carmenere also sold poorly. It was poured before the Malbec so it wasn't overshadowed by the better wine. It was earthier than the Malbec which tells me from my experience that there may have been a stylistic problem with the wine but it was lighter than the Malbec also and that may be due to sourced fruit due to the earthquake. In my opinion the wine was fine (I like earthy) but not up to the par for Carmenere set previously by Santa Alicia.
Along with the Santa Alicia Malbec, the 2010 Sensi Tuscan Sangiovese and 2011 Peirano Estates Lodi Chardonnay were the most popular wines of the evening. Sensi overperformed for its modest price and Peirano (blog March 29th, '12) was a fine balance of tropical fruit, honey, and oak.
Two tastings scheduled in the next two weeks relate to the subject at hand. Next Friday, July 20th, we will be tasting new wines from DFV of Lodi, my favorite mega-wine company. The wines are sourced from Napa and Monterey and, in a nutshell, DFV simply makes better wines than similar volume-driven companies. On Tuesday July 24th we will host another importer tasting with Chilean wines. The label is called Dogma, the importer is Bob Durand, and the facilitator for making this happen is Gail Avera of Allgood Fine Wines. Please join us.
Italian Piave Vecchio is usually the best cheese in the deli here. We have one coming in this week so stop in for that also.