Import Selection: Sauvignon Blanc, 1988, Errazuriz Panquehue

(Editorial forenote: It pleases me to see how often [and unexpectedly so] Paul chooses these wonderful wines from Chile as club selections. I have been a long time fan of Chilean wines. They of­ten represent bargain values. L.T.)

The Errazuriz Panquehue Winery (their slogan is “once you have tasted our wines… you’ll want to learn to say our name”, (see pho­netic pronunciation above) dates back to the 1870’s and has been a family operation since its incep­tion. Rafael Errazuriz Urmenta, in his determination to follow well in the footsteps of his father, winery founder Don Maximiano Errazuriz Valdivieso, planted so many vines that Panquehue held the distinction at that time of being the largest vineyard in the world in the hands of a single owner. His father used to say “Grapevines should be tend­ed and treated like works of art, since their life span runs parallel to that of man.” The present Chair­man Don Alfonso Chadwick Er­razuriz contends that “having been born in a wine press” is his claim to the family tradition.

Although first class cabernets are grown at the northerly ancestral Panquehue estate, the firm turned to the Mataquito Valley about 125 miles south of Santiago, the na­tion’s capital, for white grape pro­duction. There is a bit more rain­fall, which is desirable, in this district – yet it is virtually rain free during the critical summer growing season – also desirable. It is slight­ly cooler there as well. These con­ditions are considered more ideal for producing lively and delicate white wines.

Sauvignon Blanc is probably the most versatile and adaptable of white wine grapes. Like its red rel­ative, cabernet sauvignon, it re­tains its flavor and personality wherever planted. Vinified propely, it gives a nice “round” (mouth filling) savory wine, characterized by an easily recognized green leaf or “grassy” aroma. In its ancestral home, France, it supplies the basis for the many white wines of Bor­deaux as well as the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé wines of the Loire Valley region.

This wine exhibits a brilliant pale green gold hue. The classic sau­vignon nose contains green leaf, with a hint of mintiness plus a touch of melon (honeydew)… clean. It is medium bodied, round and pleasantly tart. It finishes with a hint of caramel in the after taste.

Serve chilled with poultry or shellfish. Would be great with gar­licky charbroiled jumbo prawns.

Cellaring Notes: Enjoy through 1990.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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