Import Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1989. Villa Montes

What would happen if: a) Cali­fornia’s leading Consulting Oenol­ogist, Andre Tchelistcheff, formed a partnership with; b) the Dean of the School of Economics and Business Administration of a prominent university plus; c) a ma­jor Napa Valley vineyard owner and; d) a seasoned wine marketing professional with 20 years experi­ence? They call it Domaine Tche­listcheff. One would anticipate a fine bottle, yes? Well, the equival­ent has happened in Chile!

Discover Wine Ltd., incorpo­rated in 1988, pools the expertise, experience and vineyard holdings of four top figures in the Chilean wine scene. Aurlelio Montes (Head Oenologist) is the “a” in the picture. He has worked with or ad­vised most of the important winer­ies in Chile. He is a graduate of the prestigious School of Agronomy and Oenology at the Universidad Catolica de Chile (where the group’s President was the afore­mentioned “b”). Montes is credited as the first Chilean winemaker both to use French oak barrels for aging and to produce a white wine that won a Gold Medal at Bor­deaux’s Vinexpo International Wine Fair.

The Montes wines come from the 210 acre Vina Los Nogales Do­maine (owned by “c”). 125 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. This finely situated estate heretofore supplied Chile’s top 3 winer­ies; Concha y Toro, Santa Rita and Vina San Pedro. From this last winery, incidentally, comes the “d” above. He is Vina San Pe­dro’s ex-export manager!

Wine lovers have been having a love affair with Cabernet Sauvig­non, internationally, for centuries. And why not? When transplanted to any suitable climate from its original home in Bordeaux, France, the grape is almost unique in maintaining its captivating, no­ble character. It yields classic dry reds: fragrant as the night, full and firm of body, which beckon haunt­ingly, “I’m not getting older…I’m getting better.”

This Cabernet has a medium-deep ruby/garnet color and an aro­ma classic in its blackcurrant, cher­ry and vanilla notes, but with a hint of “grassiness”. The fruit fla­vors follow through into the taste. Typical of Chilean Cabernets, the soft, dry, well-balanced body is in the lighter, elegant, so-called “cla­ret” style. It finishes long, with a hint of chocolate.

Serve at room temperature with steak, roast beef, roast duck or assorted cheeses.

Cellaring Notes: Drink now & track about 3 years.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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