(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