TASTING ROUND OF CHILE IN 6 RED WINES (5)
Please see also the previous articles …
MONTES ‘FOLLY’ SYRAH 2006, APALTA (SANTA CRUZ): 100% syrah. I tasted this wine twice earlier and was deeply impressed. During my 2nd visit to the Montes winery in Apalta, I had some problems with the alcohol. For me, just a question of serving temperature. In Chile, like in many other countries, red wines are served much too warm and white wines much too cold, i.m.h.o. I had to do it my way and I did it. One hour in a decanter for breathing and a serving temperature of 16°C maximum, it did work! This is a mythic wine, which actually works much more enticing on me than the flagship ‘M’ and even my second favorite behind this FOLLY Syrah wine, the PURPLE ANGEL.
I didn’t even know where the grapes were precisely coming from (the very top of the steep vineyards of La Finca de Apalta, > 45° inclination!), nor that Montes was using indigenous yeasts for this wine. I just knew I LOVED it… The very first FOLLY I tasted was in Valparaíso, it was vintage 2000. I was not really charmed by the dominant oak tones. I tasted in the meantime a few more FOLLY and I meant to have noticed that the use of oak has been decreasing, or was it only the use of ‘new’ oak? This vintage 2006 was a great one with perfect grape maturation. ‘Only’ 49,200 bottles of this wine have been produced, and I had the pleasure to taste 3 of them (one with Aurelio Sr, a great honour) and to drink 2 of them. These were three absolutely remarkable experiences.
After one hour breathing in a cooled decanter, the wine was incredibly complex. Great deep and intense ruby colour. A huge aromatic power, including ripe but not ‘jammy’ red and black berries, plums, hints of graphite, fresh ground pepper, wild green aromatic herbs, laurel leaf, and on the background some civilized touch of chocolate and smoky toast. On the palate, rustic and wild power (in a positive way), freshness, full, round body and velvety structure, great balance, perfect ripe and soft tannins, multi-layered taste (fruity, mineral, spicy), with a warm and overwhelming finish. DO NOT SERVE IT TOO WARM, it will turn into a ‘blockbuster’; this wine needs to be served slightly cooled (max. 16°C) to preserve all its freshness and lovely fruit! (I know that some Chilean and Californian friends won’t agree, but that’s my opinion for European taste, more based on gastronomy use than on meat and wine orgies, grin).
This is undoubtedly a wonderful wine for the greatest, tastiest meat dishes, from lamb to beef and venison, highly tasty, enhanced with strong reduced gravy and aromatic herbs (rosemary, thyme…). Sorry for the vegetarians among my readers, this is not an easy wine to combine, but a good try might be baked quinoa (red and white mix) or grilled polenta with stir-fried zucchini (yes, the tasty small ones), egg-plant (indeed, the smaller and firm ones), red bell peppers, onions or scallions, garlic and aromatic herbs. ***** Outstanding wine with great ageing potential! (€ 55 Retail NL).
My sincere and respectful compliments to Aurelio Sr and Aurelio Jr. for this fabulous masterpiece!