Casas Del Bosque Gran Reserva Syrah was the best wine-related experience we had here last year. What I mean by that is we had no expectations for this wine before tasting it. We had been told it was good but salesmen always talk them up before tasting them. If you're not secure in your palate, you can be influenced that way. This one just blew us away. It may have been underpriced by half!
Bosque is a Chilean estate established in 1993 by the Italian Cuneo family. The Cuneo's primary business is grocery stores so this venture was a sidelight. Now with 235 hectares in vines located seventy kilometers from Santiago in the western Chilean Casablanca Valley they grow Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, and Riesling. Eighty percent of their production is exported. Casablanca is the appellation known for producing the finest Sauvignon Blanc in the country and that assertion holds true with Bosque whose Sauvignon Blanc is acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal.
They now have a star winemaker in Grant Phelps of New Zealand who consulted internationally before settling in Chile, first with Viu Manent before coming to Bosque. He prides himself on his abilities with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The former is still a work in progress. The Sauvignon Blanc is firmly in the "Win" column.
Phelps' Syrah is 100% varietal and sourced from 10-15 year old hillside vineyards. The soils are red clay over 110 million year old decomposed granite which retains a salinity from being under the ocean for most of its history. Picking is done by hand using a double selection process. The wine is fermented in small stainless steel tanks before seeing time in new and used French oak barrels.
The Syrah has a deep garnet color with purple hue. The nose shows lavender and blueberries; the mouth, black cherry and cedar with the requisite peppery spice and dark berries of type. The wine also has fresh acidity with firm crisp and savory tannins. While this wine is more reflective of old world France than Australia, it is most definitely a new world product with its forward fruit, vanilliny oak, and soft creamy texture. There is not any one thing from above that makes this wine special. Rather, it's the sum of its parts that make this wine perfect.
Please join us this Thursday at 5pm when Morgan Miller presents a tasting of four from Bosque. Then one week later David Klepinger offers us a tasting of Orin Swift California wines.