Pure snow water from the Andes Mountains provides natural irrigation for the vineyards on either side in Chile and Argentina. Add to this abundant sunshine and fertile volcanic soils and you’ve got the perfect conditions for grape ripening.
We have two stand-out South American wines that offer great value for money while also representing the superior quality wine this region produces.
Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2012
The San Antonio Valley is Chile’s premium white grape region and is home to a select number of dedicated winemakers. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Santa Rita’s head winemaker Andres Ilabaca and head viticulturist Sebastien Warnier at their vineyard in Leyda Valley. These are two young wine professionals are at the top of their game, with access to great vineyards and state of the art wine making equipment. They are passionate about wine making and the results are evident in the finished product.
This Sauvignon Blanc is light green-yellow in colour with great fruit expression. Notes of grapefruit and lemon blossom dominate, followed by gooseberry and a distinct mineral finish that’s characteristic of the Leyda Valley. Cool sea breezes from the Pacific and the drop in temperature at night lead to an extended growing season and a slower ripening period, producing superb grapes. This is a beautifully balanced wine with a steady acidity that delivers a long fruit-driven finish.
Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc ranks among the Top 10 wines from this region. The 2012 vintage was awarded bronze in the International Wine Challenge and was commended in the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Dona Paula Malbec/Syrah 2011
Dona Paula state that their aim is to “deliver the best that the Argentinean terroir can offer.” They began this ambitious undertaking back in 1990, carrying out extensive research on the Argentinean soils and growing conditions. In 1997, they acquired their first vineyard in Ugarteche, Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. This is a region famed for its Malbec and it’s easy to see why in this aromatic blend. Head winemaker Marcos Fernandez and head viticulturist Martin Kaiser are another two outstanding personalities in the South American wine industry.
Dona Paula only uses estate-owned grapes which are cold-soaked for two weeks prior to fermentation to ensure the best possible fruit extraction. This results in a wine with intense colour and flavours. The wine is them fermented and aged in French barrels for eight months before bottling.
The Malbec/Syrah blend is violet-blue in colour with the Malbec delivering notes of plum and spice while the Syrah adds white pepper and red fruits. In the mouth, this wine is harmonious and balanced with round tannins, fruity acidity and a nice long finish.
Both wines are available to buy online or in store and come highly recommended by us here at O’Donovan’s.