Due to a variety of commitments I don’t often have the opportunity to participate in the weekly Wednesday at 11am CST #SommChat hosted by Keeper Collection (@keepercoll) on Twitter. However, each time I am able to join the conversation I always learn great wine information from great wine people. On this particular Wednesday, #SommChat was talking with the Chilean winery, Ritual Wines. At the end of the very informative and fast paced discussion Kimberly Charles with Charles Communications offered samples of the Veramonte Pinot Noir to those interested. I had enjoyed a Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir last fall at a Wines of Chile Master Class hosted by Full Circle Wine Solutions so I sent Kimberly an email in hopes of trying another Chilean Pinot Noir. Thankfully she was kind enough to share a media sample with me!
Before we get to the delicious Pinot Noir let me share a bit with you about Chile’s Casablanca Valley. Casablanca Valley is located 47 miles northwest of Santiago between the coast and the Andes Mountains. Casablanca Valley was the first area in Chile planted with vines in the mid-1980s, thus catapulting Chile into the global wine making community. At the time it was Chile’s first cool-climate coastal wine growing region and began to produce high quality varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Its proximity to the ocean offers cool Mediterranean like climate with maritime influence of an average 21.2 inches of rain annually and cool foggy mornings. Today there are over 1400 hectares planted in a wide variety of grapes.
Now on to the wine and food pairing:
Veramonte 2013 Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley, Chile: This wine poured a soft violet with scarlet highlights and opened with inviting aromas of red fruit, spice, cola, herbal notes and touch of rose petals. On the palate this 100% Pinot Noir delivered bright flavors of black and red cherries, raspberries and pomegranate with a touch of cherry cola, sage and baking spices. It offered a round acidity and the tannins were tight on the first day but by the second day they had relaxed and integrated into a lovely mouth-filling wine. This Pinot Noir was bold and driven with a medium body and a lingering dry finish. 12 months in neutral oak; 14.5% alcohol. SRP $11.99 from Wine.com.
The fuller body Chilean Pinot Noir needed to be paired with a fuller body meal and I had just the trick. In the checkout line at the grocery store a while back I spotted a magazine called “The Best of Fine Cooking Mexican.” On the cover was a mouthwatering recipe for Shredded Brisket Tacos with Chipotle Dressing. I bought the magazine and had been waiting to make that dish for the right occasion. Well the occasion was here, I made the brisket tacos and paired them with the Veramonte 2013 Pinot Noir. As expected it was a wonderful pairing. In fact, the smoky nature of the chipotle dressing with included canned chipotles in an adobo sauce really altered the flavor profile of the wine; picking up more of the Chilean smoky characteristics and earthiness than the wine offered on its own. Very cool! Additionally, even though I have not had Veramonte’s Carmenere it is one of my favorite varietals and I am sure would pair equally well with the delicious and smoky brisket tacos.
Veramonte’s approach to Pinot Noir from their web site:
Producing one of the world’s most sought after wines, Pinot Noir is among the most challenging varietals to grow. Veramonte first planted Pinot Noir in the late 1990s convinced its climate and estate grounds were ideal to grow this finicky varietal.
In its quest to produce world class Pinot Noir, Veramonte partnered with highly acclaimed American winemaker Paul Hobbs, recognized producer of prized California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He is credited with introducing night harvesting, wild-yeast fermentations and extended cold soak time to the cellar. Over the last 10 years, the winery also implemented leading viticulture and production techniques from top Pinot Noir producing regions and winemakers around the world.
On the Veramonte estate, 65 acres are planted to Pinot Noir, including 5 acres organically farmed. Clonal selections include Dijon 777 and 115. The vines are densely planted at 2,000 vines per acre and managed to one cluster per shoot, yielding fewer than four tons per acre. The vineyards enjoy a variety of sun exposures and canopies are managed carefully to avoid sunburn and create even ripening.
Veramonte, Casablanca Valley pioneers, dedicated to ultimate terroir premium wines.
History, winery, philosophy and environmental consciousness from Veramonte:
Veramonte was founded as a vineyard-based winery whose mission is to produce high quality wines that accurately, authentically express varietal characteristics via Chile’s unique terroirs — the combined environment of soil, topography, climate and people. Our commitment to nurturing the ties of every wine to its soil or “sense of place” reflects a dedication to produce terroir expressive wines.
Veramonte has one of the most extensive contiguous vineyards of Chile, with a surface of more than 420 hectares in the best zone of the Valley of Casablanca. The vineyard is surrounded by more than 4.500 hectares (10.000 acres) of native forest, beside possessing one stride along this interior with more than 24 species of birds.
Opening in 1998, Veramonte is a striking, modern facility designed by one of Chile’s leading architects, Jorge Swinburn. It houses the latest technology in gravity-based fermentors, ultra-modern stainless steel tanks and high efficiency bottling lines. Built for small-lot wine production, the facility ensures individual vineyard blocks can be fermented and aged separately prior to final blending – allowing winemaking to create authentic, vineyard expressive wines.
At Veramonte, care for the land and environment is a top priority, guided by sustainable farming practices in the vineyards and sustainable business practices in the winery. Nowadays, 120 acres of vineyards are farmed organically, while an additional 120 are undergoing the certification process. Over 10,000 acres is preserved as a natural green belt
If you never had Pinot Noir from Chile this is an excellent wine to try and if you have had and enjoyed Pinot Noir from Chile add Veramonte to your list!
My Song Selection: Often times for me a good Pinot Noir is either a jazz song or a blues song. Veramonte 2013 Pinot Noir had layers of flavors and soul; therefore, it was definitely a blues song. My song pairing for the Veramonte 2013 Pinot Noir brings us to one of the greatest modern day blues artists: Ryan McGarvey. He is amazing, complex, layered, soulful, edgy with a bit of funk, and delivers everything you want from a blues guitarist; just like the Veramonte 2013 Pinot Noir.
Get your own bottle of Veramonte 2013 Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!