Christian CALLEC

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CHILEAN WINE TOUR 2012 IN AMSTERDAM (5)

Posted by Christian Callec on donderdag, september 13th, 2012

During the Chilean Wine Tour event in Amsterdam, not less than 26 wineries were presenting their wines to the Dutch trade, press and restaurant world. This year, the offer was very good and the average quality of the wines was surprisingly high.

A quick tour around some wineries (part 3):

VIÑA J. BOUCHON: I have mixed memories of my visit at the J. Bouchon winery in Las Condes (Maule). It was just after the terrible 2010 earth-quake and the damages were really noticeable. The most touching was not the damage at the old part of the winery and the outside tanks, but the dramatic damages to the old colonial mansion built in the mid-19th century at Santa Maria de Mingre. I was really moved by the passion and the determination of the Bouchon family to rebuild it in the old style and modernize it. Santa Maria de Mingre (Mingre in short) is indeed a magical place full of history and tradition. I am glad that now everything is alive and well, part of the ‘Mingre Life’… The Bouchon family, originally coming from Saint-Emilion near Bordeaux, arrived in Chile at the end of the 19th century. Emile Bouchon had a dream: producing excellent wines in Chile. The story started in the Colchagua Valley, where Antonio Bouchon continued the great work of his father. In the 60’s of the 20th century, Antonio’s youngest son Julio, himself oenologist from the University of Bordeaux, moved to the Maule Valley, where he bought the Santa Maria de Mingre Estate. Nowadays, J. Bouchon wines are well-known all over the world, always offering a great value and pleasure for a friendly price. In the past decade, Julio and his sons are enhancing the terroir driven quality of their wine, bringing the best ones to premium, super-premium and icon level. For an impression of my last visit and tasting notes, please click here

J. BOUCHON (J from Julio, pronounced in the Hispanic way, with a ‘Jota’, like the guttural ‘gh’ sound at the end of Bach, is most of the times named Jota Bouchon, ‘jota’ being the Hispanic ‘J’ letter) produces a well-known and appreciated RESERVA range: all the wines are made from selected, hand harvested grapes from the own Maule vineyards. They are all fruit and terroir driven… (See the tasting notes of my last visit, the quality is still there). The RESERVA ESPECIAL 2010 premium range offers more complexity, thanks to a longer ageing (10-12 months) in French oak barrels. The grapes come from the Las Mercedes and Santa Rosa vineyards, on the banks of the Maule River. (See the tasting notes of my last visit in 2011 to give you an idea).

Another premium range is LAS MERCEDES, consisting in two wines, a BARREL FERMENTED SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 LIMITED EDITION and a ENSAMBLAJE 2008 CABERNET SAUVIGNON (45%) – SYRAH (40%) – MALBEC (15%) LIMITED EDITION… The white is very well balanced, combining the crispy freshness of a coastal sauvignon blanc with the complexity  procured by 6 months fermenting and ageing in French oak barrels. Much better than the 2007 I tasted (a chardonnay?) at the winery. The red blend (ensamblaje = assemblage = cuvée) is even better… It is made from very old vines, with the help of the famous French-Chilean wine consultant Patrick Valette (ex-owner of Château Pavie, project consultant at Neyén, Viña Vik and many others). The wine is lovely fruity and juicy, very well balanced and structured, fresh, spicy and complex.

The icon wine, MINGRE is a fantastic wine, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, carmenère and syrah, full-bodied, well-balanced, complex and full with the J.Bouchon’s Maule Spirit…

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