Oct 8th, 2010 Jayne Pearce

At this month’s book and wine club (aka ‘Sprite Night’) we discussed the casual intensity of Elizabeth Gilbert’s enormously successful “Eat, Pray, Love.” This work of non-fiction is about newly divorced Elizabeth and her cathartic, self-conscious travels through Italy, India and Indonesia.


To balance all things spiritual, the choice of Chilean wines provided a welcome discussion soother to counteract the somewhat serious subject of female readjustment back to singledom. It can’t be that hard to imagine five worldly women with their own tales to tell sipping Chardonnay and nibbling on yummy Alfajores (Lorna’s amazing Chilean cookies) whilst poignantly discussing the one thing we could all relate to besides Italian food - Love.

We started off the evening with the usual fizz, namely the Concha y Toro, Brut NV, Rapel Valley (BZ$50) which was quite pleasant and easy-drinking except for a slight aftertaste and a little abrasive acidity. The Chardonnay, Riesling and Chenin Blanc blend made for a slightly unusual concoction of flavours. Fortunately, we had an engagement announcement to celebrate which was refreshingly positive given the nature of the book we would later be discussing.

Next up came the Chardonnay 2007, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Casablanca Valley (BZ$48) where its nicely integrated oak worked very well with some of the gorgeous richer cream cheeses on the table. The Rothschild corporation have done a very good job with their Chilean range of wines - see red wine note below. It’s golden straw colour tint gave way to a fuller body and higher alcohol making it an adaptable food-friendly wine. Juicy tropical fruits and peaches lingered on both the nose and the palate.

We then moved on to the reds with **the **Carmenere 2007, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Rapel Valley (BZ$48) and it was a big hit. Carmenere was thought to be a clone of Merlot because of its similarly distinct style ****and the close cousin resemblance definitely came across. The rich, opulent blackberry nose follows through on the palate with nice soft tannins and generous fruit.

The second red was the Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz / Cabernet Franc blend, 2007, Trio Reserva, Concha Y Toro. (BZ$48). This was much more of a complex style than the Carmenere with an intoxicating mix of pepper and spice on the nose with blackcurrant and licquorice on the palate. Another food wine which helped wash down some yummy mini cream cheese and salami wraps.

Finally, the Late Harvest Semillon, 2008, Maipo Valley (BZ$28) was a very agreeable dessert wine to have with the exotic fruit pavlova. At about 80 g/l residual sugar (at a guess), the sweetness was not too cloying although the acidity could have done with being a bit higher to balance out the sugars. The nose was reminiscent of exotic floral and fruits combined while the fruit followed through on the palate. My other reservation about this wine was the relatively short length given the style.

Next month we plan to finish the Stieg Larsson trilogy and back-up the banter with something from Down Under…

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