How well do you know Chile? It’s the slim country running down to the west of the Andes to the Pacific Ocean:
Joking aside, here’s how the country is broken down into different wine regions:
The two wines we are looking at here are from different – though relatively close – sub-regions. If you find the capital Santiago on the map above and head due north into the Aconcagua region you find the Aconcagua Valley and thus the Aconcagua Mountain after which the region is named. Best known for red wines – including Errázuriz’s super-premium “Seña” – it also makes fuller bodied whites.
South west of Santiago and on the coast is the Leyda Valley, attached to the more established San Antonio Valley. Due to the influence of the Pacific the climate is cool here and so the best performing varieties tend to be Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. In Ireland at least, Leyda Valley has become a name to look out for on the label of these wines.
The two wines below are available from Lidl Ireland as a limited release from Thursday 21st May, while stocks last.
Disclosure: both bottles were kindly provided as samples, but opinions remain my own
V Selection Valle de Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva 2019
Emblazoned with a Chilean flamingo, this Sauvignon Blanc has the label “Gran Reserva” – a term with no standing in Chile – the grapes were picked barely 12 months ago – but nevertheless designed to communicate a high quality level. Sauvignon Blanc is a key white variety for Chile and is often recognisable in blind tastings by strong hints of fennel.
Any hints of fennel are subtle in this wine, but the overwhelming aroma and flavour is of asparagus! It’s not that rare in Sauvignons as such but it ordinarily tends to be just a component of the nose and / or palate. The only other I can think of with such an asparagus bias is the very cool climate Astrolabe Kekerengu SB from the southern part of Malborough. But it’s not just asparagus, there’s also lime and lemon rounding off the palate and a lovely crisp, clean finish. This Leyda Valley wine is perfect for salads and seafood.
- ABV: 13.0%
- RRP: €9.99
- Stockists: Lidl Ireland
V Selection Valle del Aconcagua Chardonnay Gran Reserva 2018
The national bird of choice for this Chardonnay is the Humboldt penguin, what a cute little thing! Again we have a Gran Reserva, but at least this one is two years old. There’s a tropical tinge to the nose, though not overpowering. This does continue though to the palate but it is very restrained; tasted blind I would probably have guessed it to be from southern Burgundy. There’s a lot of texture on the wine, partially from the high altitude vineyard and partially from the use of (mainly seasoned) oak.
Don’t make the mistake of drinking this wine straight from the fridge; give it at least half an hour and drink from your biggest wine glass for extra swirlage.
- ABV: 14.0%
- RRP: €10.99
- Stockists: Lidl Ireland
These are both good wines that offer very good value for money. Compared to the New Zealand pair I reviewed previously that are part of the same release, I am not quite as enthusiastic, but they are both worth a try – unless you hate asparagus, in which case you should pass on the Sauvignon and just head for the Chardonnay!