Thursday, November 19, 2009

Viu Manent - A Vibrant Winery with a Winemaker to Match

When I was working with Wines of Chile, there were many wineries that I really enjoyed working with. One in particular was Viu Manent. The winery is in the Colchagua region of Chile and was at one time horse grazing land of the Marchique, the native Chileans.

I was reminded of how much I liked the winery when I was a fly on the wall during the second Online Blogger Tasting hosted by Wines of Chile. If you would like to watch the entire tasting with the winemakers and moderated by Michael Green you can see it here (although I can say from experience that a tasting is a lot more fun when you have the wine in front of you). The theme of the tasting was Carmenere and I thought that listening to these winemakers talk about their wines and Chilean Carmenere in general was a great experience for anyone that enjoys the interaction of wine blogging.

The winemaker from Viu Manent is Grant Phelps, a kiwi who found a place in the wine country of Chile. I was in Chile in August 2008 (during their winter) and met Grant with a group of wine buyers and sommeliers. There is something so refreshing about his sarcasm that makes it a pleasure to laugh with him. Not only that, he makes some good wine.

During the blogger tasting, Grant was talking about his Carmenere. However, I think Viu Manent's real strength lies in their Malbec, which some might be surprised at since all too often Malbec is associated with Argentina, the other major winemaking power in South America. Grant has found his stride with Malbec, making an amazing high end wine, the Viu 1 as well as a Single Vineyards, Reserva and Secreto Malbec.

I recently got the chance to taste the 2005 Reserva Malbec and the 2005 La Capilla Estate Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Both were delicious and amazing values. The Reserva Malbec smelled ripe, with dark berry fruits with a taste of fleshy blackberry. It was also nicely balanced in its acidity, giving me enough of a dryness to make me want to take another sip.

The 2005 La Capilla Estate Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon had a healthy nose of toast among cassis and black currant. The taste came with powerful blackberry and black cherry ripeness.

Full Disclosure: In the past year I worked with Wines of Chile and currently work with one of the wineries that presented at the Blogger Tasting, Vina Carmen.
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