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Chilean Cabernets: Reasonable and Delicious

Posted on: March 17th, 2011 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

For the past decade or longer, Chile has continued to perfect their red wines to world-class standing.  The Wine Spectator ratings for many Chilean wines have consistently been in the mid 80’s-90’s, while pricing remains attractive.

Costco offers an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon from wine maker Aurelio Montes, on a fairly consistent basis; that is a great buy in the $15-$18 range.  It is one of this winery’s better ones too and they simply call it Montes Alpha.

This wine has been available in Arizona for at least 15 years and first appeared in the valley at outlets such as Cost Plus World Market.  It quickly developed an enthusiastic following who waited for shipments to arrive, then scarfed them up right out of the shipping cases!  As production and exports grew, it gradually became a permanently stocked item.

Montes Alpha is a pretty consistent wine that is known for a delicate bouquet that is a balance between mint, tobacco, and dark berries.  Its color isn’t quite the deep inky red of the typical Cabernet, but more on the ruby side.  This makes its full-bodied flavor somewhat of a surprise with bold tannins and noticeable alcohol.  Normally this wine benefits from a little more flavor integration that a couple more years of aging provides.  Buy extra and lay it down for a couple years?  Most collectors do, and it responds well.

Regardless of how long you stash it away, with a char broiled steak, prime rib, or corned beef, it’s a perfect value.

Montes Trivia:  Someone once noticed that the flavor of Montes Alpha is comparable to California’s Healdsburg Alexander Valley Cabs such as those produced by the Simi Winery.  A side-by-side tasting of these can provide an interesting lesson on how expert producers from two different hemisphere’s can maintain consistent quality, despite local conditions, year-after-year.

Serve from the fridge after about 40 minutes (55 degrees).  For those who really love full-bodied reds, try it with some bittersweet chocolate, wow.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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