“South American Stars Pack”: (Tier 1-3) 12 btls HUGE upgrade

South American Stars (Tier 1,2&3) 12 Bottles

Price: ¥1,899

Steak and red wineThe already impressive case has now been given the status its name deserves with an influx of new, award winning, red wines.

A fabulous vertical line-up of intriguing South Chile flag thumbAmerican icons (and new comers) from tiers 1, 2 & 3.

A veritable feast of experiences with our seal of approval and at a neat value point. We are very proud to create and present this selection of treats.Argentina Flag thumb 60x30

We love all the wines in this pack.

  • Now the Causino Macul Riesling is all gone we reshaped the whole case towards having more REDS. You can play with the selection a little more if you like by requesting another award winner, like Salentein Portillo Malbec (~100), Flechas Aguaribay Malbec (~150). Just tell us; and we’ll try to arrange that for you.

Please click on the wines listed below to extend/retract descriptions.   

1x Bodegas Alina Emblema Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, Central Valley (tier 1)

Having tasted this for the first time in December ’11, it got onto our website without hesitation. It is staggeringly good for very little cost.

Vivid ruby colour. Exquisite aroma of forest berries and spices on a rich background of leather and liquorice. Palate characterised by sweet healthy tannins from the fruit and the vegetal nuances typical of this variety.

It’s even better after being open a while; unusually so, for a wine of such a low price point. My every day red wine of choice at the moment (January 2012). UPDATE: Now our top selling red, I spotted Emblema Cab on a Chinese website (March 2012) for ¥98 a bottle, brilliantly on ‘offer’, down from ¥135, and in a shop for ¥110 (November 2012). Criminal.

1x Hemisferio Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, Central Valley (tier 1)

Intense ruby colour. Exquisite aroma of wild berries and spices over a rich background of leather and liquorice. The fruit tannins and vegetable notes stand out on the palate.

If I am not mistaken, there is a dollop of Carmenere in this Cabernet Sauvignon and a fine blend that makes it too. The luminosity is there and the sweet sweet spicy notes.

And to top it all, Torres supports the Chilean Patagonian wilderness.

Ethics; that’s what we like.

March 2104: Vintage 2009 Now; this wine is being featured in the Wines and Spirits Education Trust course (WSET) which already says enough about it’s worth. But it deserves a revisit, to figure out exactly ‘why?’. What was rediscovered after an absence of a year or so was a truly happy experience: A powerhouse of herbals and fresh acidity over-pinning soft, gentle tannins with a generous silkiness. That is why the WSET people include it in their look at Cabernets. Many reasons to look here for budget minded cabernet aficionados too. 15.5 pts

1x Miguel Torres Chile Cordillera Carmenère (Tier 3)

Carmenere is to Chile is as Malbec is to Argentina. A revelation of a grape but with a huge twist. No-one knew what it was until DNA profiling came along….eventually a boffin sequenced the gene that mattered and found it to be a once lowly grape from France used mainly to add colour and bulk out wines from around Bordeaux and the south west.

Cherry coloured. Bright and luminous qualities almost iridescent is capturing the available light and shimmering. In my experience, only Carmenère has this presence in a glass. Aroma of red fruits with pleasing spicy notes. On first opening the wine showed its youth, after a while developing very nicely in the glass. Elegant on the palate with sweet tannins that yield hints of toast and leather. Long and pleasant finish.

This amazing wine even won Decanter World Wine Awards, 2016: Bronze; we are huge fans!

To top it all, Torres supports the Chilean Patagonian wilderness. Ethics; that’s what we like!

1x Cousino-Macul Antiquas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, Maipo Valley (tier 2)

Deep garnet colour. Aged in oak for 12 months and the bottle for 6 more. This wine has an intense concentrated blackcurrant fruitiness complemented by floral and vanilla essence. Silky texture.

A stylish wine which is excellent value for money.

And the wine is most popular amongst those who are drawn to it. It’s one of those ‘in the know ‘ wines.

So, when I met up with a customer at a dinner party recently, who had enjoyed this wine at both his home and office party, he remarked with excited eyes:

“… it is rather good. I know some people who won’t touch it because it isn’t French, but really!

It is very good!

1x Bodegas Salentein Reserve Malbec Argentina, Mendoza (tier 3)

We love Salentein; a 2000 hectare estate in the Uco Valley, around 700 hectares of which is planted to vine high in the Mendoza Region smack up against the Andes mountains. Pinot Noir, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon are the main varieties here, in three vineyards that begin around 1100 metres above sea level, and culminate in the San Pablo vineyard, which at 1700 metres is more or less dry farmed. Its cool climate produces fine Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc too.

Michel Rolland is consultant for Salentein. Cultivation is “90% organic, but not certified,” according to resident oenologist, Laureano Gómez.

Their El Cortigo brand is certified as Fairtrade product, and Laureano says they have “No real disease or pest problems, because of the very dry climate and very cold winters.” Grapes are 100% hand-picked into small crates, and yields are low; just 30hl/ha for their top wines.

Ruby-red wine, with good aromatic intensity, and touches of pepper and roasted red pepper, with some paprika or dry pepper, followed by a sweetness given by the red and black fruits. The vanilla aroma blends with the wooden notes and are fully integrated ageing in French oak barrels. A great structure in the mouth is a key feature of this year’s vintage (the 2011).

Tannins are well condensed with anthocyanins, adding red hues, and resulting in a roundness and softness in which the typical structure of the Cabernet prevails. Valle de Uco produces this varietal with notable structure, which makes it suitable for long-term storage.

The body of this wine makes it an ideal match for semi-hard or aged cheeses, or important and complex dishes of spiced red meat or pastas. Highly recommended: decant for 20 to 30 minutes at 16°C (61°F) before drinking.

Reviews and Scores: Vintage 2004, 87/100 , eRobertParker.com

1x Flechas Gran Malbec Argentina, Mendoza GOLD MEDAL Winner 2013 (tier 3)

Gold Medal Winner at Decanter Awards 2013

The Malbec grape does exceptionally well in Mendoza’s hot and dry climate, stony terrain, and high altitude (~3600ft). The winery uses French methods and is focused on low yields to produce high quality, naturally concentrated fruit.

Bodega Flechas de Los Andes is a result of the partnership between Baron Benjamin de Rothschild and Laurent Dassault, on a unique terroir situated at the foot of the Andes in Mendoza, Argentina.

The winery was built in 2003 and operational since the 2004 harvest, leveraging the combined expertise garnered by Rothschild and Dassault in Bordeaux.

Flechas Gran MalbecIts a good while since I last tried this, perhaps April 2011. At the time, I was looking closely at South America and the possibilities therein, that were above the low end budget wines that are now increasingly available from that continent. Indeed we have now quite a few. I wanted to get to the higher levels to find out quite how much Malbec could do.

Well, this is big wine indeed. I can tell you that. Thick and powerful, yet soft and inviting. The acidity gives plenty of life and balances the oak and tannins nicely. Is it better than Clos de Los Siete. A difficult call. The latter has more complexity, certainly.

I came across this review after we had decided to list it, before I had tried it and I can confirm the exciting description this blogger gives.

“This is a dense, but elegant, New World-style Malbec. As soon as you pour it, you know that it is going to be big wine: dark, nearly black, core with violet rim and long legs on the sides of the glass. Stewed black cherries, black pepper, and mushrooms are among the aromas. The palate has sweet oakiness, liquorice, and dark fruits. While the alcohol is quite high at 15.5%, this Malbec is well-balanced: acidity keeps it fresh and the velvety tannins give it a solid framework. ”

–from an American wine blog.
And this too:

In the glass, the wine is visually appealing: deep, vibrant purple with an almost syrupy thickness. On the nose and palate, fresh blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, figs, and hint of toasty oak. The body is medium with soft tannins and long finish of near-sweet blueberry. Best vintage to date and one of my favourite barbecue wines. To date, there have been three kosher vintages of the Gran Malbec: 2007, 2008, 2009. Enjoy!

Now, ‘Kosher’ means different things to different people. Here it’s taken to mean, suitable for consumption by those who observe Jewish dietary laws (kashrut). Wikipedia has a lot more detail on the subject.

1x Clos De Los Siete (Extaordinary Red Blend) Argentina, Mendoza (tier 3)

This is a triumphant wine with superb fruit with a good texture and length.

Here’s our thoughts on the 2008: Dark garnet in colour, this wine smells like cassis in the grip of a well-oiled leather glove. In the mouth aggressive tannins wrap the tongue in that leathery fist while wet dirt, cassis, and dried black cherry flavours fuse into a rich mulch of tastiness. A top wine from a concerted effort to produce something masterful.

Food Pairing: At this point in it’s evolution in addition to giving it some air (decant it if you can), serving it with any variety of charred beef that strikes your fancy.

Here’s an interesting review:

“The 2008 Clos de Los Siete is a blend of 56% Malbec, 21% Merlot, with the balance Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 11 months in one-third new French, one-third second use barrels, and one-third in vat. It offers up an expressive nose of cedar, spice box, brier, floral notes, and assorted black fruits. Round, ripe, and surprisingly complex for a wine of its humble price, it is an outstanding value meant for drinking over the next 5-6 years.” 90 Points The Wine Advocate

1x Callia Alta Chardonnay/Torrontes Argentina, San Juan (tier 1)

Golden-yellow wine. Complex aroma of tropical fruits with hints of honey and flowers. It is fruity and fresh on the palate, with well-balanced acidity and a pleasant finish.

Adding a healthy dash of Argentina’s own varietal makes Chardonnay interesting.

This wine’s aroma has an off-dry pungency that reminds me of Alsatian Pinot Blanc or Riesling, which elevates the wine into interesting territory and possibly appealing to a wider range of tasters at a third of the price of an Alsace. Great too if you are having a party where you need to cover all the bases, including fruit, weight, good acidity, aromatic pungency and budget friendliness.

Food Matching: Ideal with warm salad and poached seafood. The dry finish can even cope with some tastier foods, like Spicy Chicken, which is the pairing I enjoyed recently!

July 2012: The 2011 is even better than the 2010 and now is elevated to a Wine Man Pick.

1x Hemisferio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Chile, Central Valley (tier 1)

Rippen grape, straightforward fruity with a mild presence of pear. Medium bodied with a presence of high acidity makes it a good appetizer!

Pale yellow. Aromas reminiscent of ripe tropical fruits with touches of citrus. Silky palate with a good acid structure and long aftertaste.

A real step-up Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Perfect summer drink!

1x Salentein Portillo Chardonnay Argentina, Mendoza (tier 1)

Portillo Chardonnay hails from the Uco Valley, in Mendoza, a dry desert where plants really have to struggle for life, with pure mountain meltwater falling off the glistening high Andes. It all adds up to a situation that’s the envy of the wine growing world. Argentina, a giant awakening.

It’s an interesting yellow hue endowed with sharp greenish shades. Deeply aromatic wine, combining notes of pear and green apple. Fresh and well balanced, with a long finish.

Food Matching: Ideal to combine with meals from the new light cuisine (whatever that is….). Try it with warm salad and poached seafood (now, that would work).

Regarding the newest vintage:

Yellow wine with greenish tints. Subtle aromas reminiscent of fruits, such as apple and banana, with mineral notes. Crispy and balanced palate, with a good acid line and a long finish. Ideal for white meat, fish, sushi, tamales and pasta with soft sauces.

1x Miguel Torres San Medin Sauvignon Blanc Chile, Curico Valley (tier 1)

A classy Sauvignon Blanc made in a style closer to a good French style than a great New Zealand Marlborough (guess which I prefer?) I am not a fan of French (supermarket whites) in China (certainly, at this price-point). This Chilean has a significant price and flavour advantage over such French Sauvignon Blanc.

Light bright yellow.  A fresh, floral wine with fruity body and a silken palate of great finesse. Displays intriguing notes of exotic fruits (passion fruit, grapefruit). Its silky palate is exquisitely intense, with a good acidic structure and a prolonged, refreshing finish.

Food Matching: An excellent complement for shellfish, fish and seafood rice.

1x Bodegas Alina Emblema Sauvignon Blanc Chile, Central Valley (tier 1)

2012 Emblema white is now ‘flying of the shelves’. The #1 top selling white at LWwines. So glad I put faith in this wine after the initial flabbiness of the first available vintage (2008) to come onto the radar in late 2011 (actually, well past many a 2008 Sauvignon’s useful lifespan). The 2011 was the next vintage to be seen here, skipping 3 years, and it was an absolute godsend more than any other wine in our portfolio; well worth the wait. The improvements in quality are astounding. It is now outdoing the Cabernet from the same winery, in terms of year on year improvements, which is something special to behold.

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