Foods from Chile + Chilean Wine

When I was a poor college student (except for the year I worked at Ridge!), and then a student loan paying underemployed thirty-something artist/poet/writer, my go to wines were from Chile. My friends and I knew that with Chilean wines, we could get the best bang for our buck!

8465982902_0ea11ce421_mLast fall, I had the opportunity to taste four wines from Concha y Toro’s Gran Reserve Series with TasteLive  and we were happily surprised to find that you still get a BIG BANG for your buck with Chilean wine. Since Foods from Chile is hosting a contest to take a blogger to Chile (!!), I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring and turn my notes into a long over due blog post and submission. (UPDATE: Vote for me here please!!

Plus there’s ANOTHER contest that you can join in! Celebrate the “Affordable Luxury” of the Gran Reserva Serie Riberas reviewed below: enter their photo contest for chance to WIN $1,000! Extra points for mentions of these wines, wine, cameras, and rivers! Here’s my submission: chileFoodWine

The Concha y Toro vineyards in Chile are planted on or near river terraces or hillsides so cool river moderates the heat, slowing the ripening process, and the grapes benefit from the river formation soil types to produce fruit-forward wines with concentration and personality. The Gran Reserva Serie Riberas grapes grow near the banks of the Rapel, Cachapoal, Tinguiririca, Loncomilla, Maule and Itata Rivers in Chile. In Januar 2013, following a thorough audit that analyzed processes used related to soils, pesticides, recycling and environmentally-friendly procedures in the vineyard, the company received a certificate of sustainability granted by Vinos de Chile, through the Wine Technological and Tecnovid consortia, promoted by the industry association. Outside grape producers also participated. They are actively working to achieve sustainability in the “tripe bottom line” –planet, people and profit.

When I think about wine from Chile, I think LIVELY and SPICY! When I think of foods from Chile, the one that stands out the most, as in the food from Chile that is ALWAYS in my refrigerator, is blueberries! So while Chile produces a wide variety of foods (you name it–those of us in the northern hemisphere get a lot of our fruit and vegetables from Chile when our winter is their summer!), when I thought about the Chilean food I’d pair with these wines, I considered how I would use blueberries from Chile.chileblueberrieswine

Concha y Toro 2011 Gran Reserva Ribera del Rapel Savignon Blanc
Domain of Origin (D.O.): Colchagua, Rapel Valley
Ucúquer vineyard, south bank of river Rapel, central Chile.

Spicy on the nose, peppery even. Like a refreshing sea breeze, you can smell sea salt spray, and taste the  minerals, seaweed too! This is a grassy robust white, with lots of minerality. Annie AnyDay loves the finish.  Like most sauv blancs, it’s a dream with a mild goat cheese. Nectarine, pine, lime, more minerals! This wine grabs and twirls you; it has a lot of character and verve, but not that complex, and it has an astringent citrus quality to it. It might go well with ceviche, too, and I bet it would be fun with sushi!

This sauvignon blanc had us minding a herd on a hill top overlooking the ocean, enjoying a glass while watching the world go by.

We tried it with a few different foods and found it doesn’t go bitter with briny foods, even a strong cheese. Oysters were good–the oysters were richer and creamier and the wine more citrusy. The  grassiness of a pesto with the grassy wine is also wonderful. As you can see, this is a very versatile white wine that we fell in love with!

Try the Gran Reserva Ribera del Rapel Savignon Blanc with: arugala/basil/kale pesto, goat cheese (chevre), oysters, caesar salad, or seared ahi tuna on a bed of field greens with Chilean blueberries.

Concha y Toro 2011 Gran Reserva Marchigüe, Colchagua Valley Malbec $15
D.O.: Marchigüe, Colchagua Valley
Palo Santo vineyard, south bank of the Tinguiririca river, central Chile.

Nose on this one is like waving the red flag front of the bull dark cherry, mocha on the nose and palate, melts like a candybar,wonderful color nice at $15. Soft and round in the mouth. Will go well with chicken, pastas, and even salmon. Very fruity almost tastes like a late harvest without the sugar. LOVE this wine!

My absolute favorite of the reds–what a great wine! What a great price!

Try the Gran Reserva Malbec with: duck seared with a Chilean blueberries reduction sauce, seared ahi tuna on a bed of field greens with Chilean blueberries.

Concha y Toro 2010 Gran Reserva Ribera del Cachapoal Carmenere $25
D.O.: Peumo, Cachapoal Valley
Peumo vineyard, north bank of the Cachapoal River, central Chile.

Beautiful ruby red color.  Spicy on the nose, lots of pepper, depth, fruit, wonderful. Might go well with a peppercorn steak with a blue cheese topping. When you think about Chile  you think about spice, and this wine is very spicy. It goes well with pepperoni; we imagine it woudl be delicious with a pizza, olives, and strong cheeses. We preferred this wine with food rather than stand alone. With spicy or strong foods, it does well.  The grape Carmenere came from Bordeaux, France where the original stock was wiped out by phlox fura. They thought the vine was merlot.  They did not know they had Carmenere, which was thought to be extinct.  Earthy nose blackberries.
Blueberry, plum, white pepper.

When paired with strong flavored foods, the wine pops.  We love this wine best with blue cheese.

Try the 2010 Gran Reserva Carmenere with: blueberries, walnuts, and blue cheese on field greens; ribeye or filet mignon steak with blue cheese

Concha y Toro 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Ribera del Tinguiririca $15
D.O.: Marchigüe, Colchagua Valley
Palo Santo vineyard, south bank of the Tinguiririca river, central Chile.

This is all you would ever ask a cab sauv to be: ginger, white pepper, plum, smooth cherry, black currant, mocha, tobacco, old saddle leather, and we hear the thundering hooves of a fino palomino.

Annie AnyDay says, “At this price, give me a case!”
“Where are our Cuban cigars?” she asks.

This wine offers the fruit of the Malbec and the spice of the Carmenere. The grapes come from an area close to the sea, but inland far enough to give the grapes the warmer weather they need to thrive.  The vines are stressed so the yields are low, resulting in smaller batches that are well worth enjoying. It is a single vineyard wine with identity and personality.

Try the Cabernet Sauvignon Ribera del Tinguiririca with: this is a perfect example of a classic cab that will go well with pastas and big beefy flavors.

Watch the Gran Reserva Series Riberas tasting webcast  @GranReservaWine

Check out this beautiful 2 minute video:

Please note that these wines were sent to me in the hopes that I would participate in a online tasting on twitter. They also sent me back-up wines in case there were any problems, and to share with friends and family. They also sent an impressive set of materials to guide us in our tasting (that would sure come in handy if I win this contest!) Thank you to TasteLive and Concha y Toro; I learned much more than I can convey in a blog post that is now close to 1200 words! Keep me in mind–have passport, will travel! And will write for wine!

4 thoughts on “Foods from Chile + Chilean Wine

  1. Pingback: Wine Predator Makes Finals in Foods From Chile Contest! | wine predator

  2. Pingback: Chile No Longer Translates to Cheap Wine

  3. Pingback: Wine Blog » Blog Archive » Chile ~ Wine & Food ~ New Arrivals

Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s