With another year safely in the books I wanted to take a quick look ahead and wonder what the new year may have in store. I was trying to remember some of the things I wrote last year at this time, as far as wines I wanted to drink more of in 2014. The place I most thought I should drink more wine from was Chile…so I did. Boy, am I glad I did! What I discovered, like many of you also did, were some incredible wines for a terrific price.
The first such wines to catch my attention were the wines from Casas del Bosque. This winery was founded in 1993 and their winemaking philosophy is simply to produce high quality wine. Well, I suppose that would be the hope of many wineries around the world, but certainly is not always attained. At Casas del Bosque it absolutely is achieved and in many cases surpassed…get it, many cases! Their production of wines that ABC carries include Chardonnay ($16.99), Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99) (which is really delicious), Pinot Noir ($14.99), Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.99) and a stellar Carmenere ($12.99); they also make a Riesling and Syrah. The Carmenere from Casas del Bosque renewed my faith in this grape variety the first time I tasted it. Wonderful aromas of cherry, cedar and a touch of lavender with flavors of ripe black cherry, tobacco and spice combined with a balanced, long finish. I hadn’t tasted (or wanted to taste) a Carmenere for quite a while, but this wine has me looking forward to finding another one as good as this.
My other new favorite wine from Chile is the Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Isle ($15.99). This has to be one of the best buys in Cabernet Sauvignon to come along in a very long time. A muscular, full-bodied Cabernet that is the perfect wine to partner with a grilled steak of your choice or when you’re just in the mood for a great big glass of red.
My wine hopes for 2014 came true in flying colors. Now what to do about 2015? I am lucky enough to have been invited to take a tour through wine country in South Africa in a few weeks–so for 2015 I think I will start there. Like Chile, I don’t really spend enough time or energy seeking out the wines of South Africa, so this will be one of my 2015 resolutions: to better understand and appreciate the wines of Stellenbosch, Paarl and the other wine regions in South Africa. I will let you know how it is going, as I look ahead to the next great wine discovery!
Ken Amendola, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinekena