Thursday, July 9, 2009

A quick dip into a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Now that I have left Wines of Chile, I have noticed that I do not seek out Chilean wines very often. It has nothing to do with the quality of the wines, it's just that after tasting them at trade shows, tasting them during comprehensive reviews of the wines, tasting them at retail store events, tasting them on trips, and tasting them in the office... I want to branch out a little.

However, when I do go out and buy a Chilean wine, I know exactly which ones I want to buy.

Recently I had a bottle of Vina Garces Silva "Amayna" Sauvignon Blanc 2008. The winery actually only makes one line of wines, all of which are called Amayna, so if you ask for Garces Silva a retail clerk might not know what you are talking about. Vina Garces Silva is located in the San Antonio region of Chile, up against the coastal mountain range. In fact, you can see the Pacific Ocean quite clearly from the winery balcony.

The winery is very modern, with an attractive architectural design. Because it is built into the foothills of the coastal range, the transfer of juices during the winemaking production is all done by gravity. The grapes are brought to the top level of the winery via an access road, then crushed almost directly into stainless steel tanks. From there the fermented juice is send down the tubes to be put either into oak barrels or directly into the bottling line, depending on the type of wine being made.

The winery only makes five different wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. These are among my favorite wines coming out of Chile and I fully recommend picking up any of them. There is no question to me that this is a winery dedicated to quality.

That being said, I certainly prefer some of their wines over others. For instance, I find it a shame to mess with such delicious Sauvignon Blanc by putting some of it in oak. And the Syrah is slightly young, as it was just planted about four or five years ago. And that Pinot Noir is delicious.

The recent edition of Sauvignon Blanc is good, but I thought the 2007 was better. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is a little more herbal, with notes of lemon grass and slightly on the asparagus side. The taste is so light and smooth with a breezy lemon citrus flavor. Leah had bought some hand rolled ravioli, filled with ricotta and asparagus and it was a good pairing.

Also, Wines of Chile has a new website, which is MUCH more useful than its old one. I say this as a blogger, a consumer, and as someone who spent a lot of time navagating the old website. Check it out at:

I worked with Wines of Chile from 2006 until 2009.
UPDATED: I just retasted this wine from the same bottle four days later and it is still crisp and bright. The herbal notes have gone and all that is lelft is bright and refreshing lemon citrus. Love it!
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