Issue #27 June 2021
As another NHL hockey season winds down, some of us (depending on our loyalties of course) find ourselves a little empty without a team competing for the Stanley Cup. But luckily, we lost souls have one of the great sports of spring, summer and fall to fill the void; baseball.
Baseball is a simple game but it’s also deceptively cerebral. It comes with pitching weapons called Cutters and Splitters and Sliders. And strategic coaching moves like the Squeeze Bunt, the Walk and the Infield Shift.
But it is also a game that comes with its own holy grail of achievements. It’s called ‘Hitting for the Cycle’. This is the rare accomplishment of one batter hitting a single, double, triple and a home run in the same game.
The most recent cycle was accomplished by Cavan Biggio of the Toronto Blue Jays on September 17, 2019, against the Baltimore Orioles.
All of this oddly and conveniently brings me to wine. In my view, one of the world’s great wine producing countries ‘hits for the wine cycle’ on a regular basis, producing great Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Chile is not only one of the great players in the wine game. It belongs in the vintner’s hall of fame.
Welcome back to the cellar.
Okay, let’s play ball. In other words, let’s pull some corks.
Our first Chilean guest this month was born at the Casablanca Vineyard of the Montes Winery in the coastal region of Chile called the Aconcagua Costa.
The Aconcagua Valley is shaped by the Aconcagua River, which flows from the Andes Mountain Range into the Pacific Ocean. Its riverbanks are mostly terraced; ideal for growing the finest grape varieties.
Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2018
Aconcagua Costa, Chile
750 ml bottle VINTAGES#: 390203
Montes produces one of the great value Cabernet Sauvignons (that we sampled back in March) and they also hit it out of the park with this Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2018. It’s bright and golden in the glass, like the sun gleaming on second base at Fenway Park on a June afternoon. There are flavours of cooked apples and vanilla here with a luscious and creamy texture. Whether you’re listening to a ball game on the radio (still one of the great ways to enjoy baseball) or just thinking about what to bring to the plate for dinner, this Chardonnay is a perfect choice.
Next up to bat is a Syrah, again from the Aconcagua Costa. Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France; Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. As long ago as 2004, Syrah was estimated to be the world’s 7th most planted grape. It may have moved up in the batting order since then.
Errázuriz Syrah 2018
750 ml bottle VINTAGES#: 387910
The Errázuriz winery, Viña Errázuriz, was founded by Don Maximiano Errázuriz in 1870. It’s located 90 kilometres north of Santiago in the Aconcagua Valley.
Errázuriz Syrah 2018 swings for the fences with lively fruity aromas and jammy flavours of blackberries and raspberries with a minty, peppery character. This wine is as tasty as it is full-bodied and teams up nicely with grilled beef, chicken and veggies.
Batting third this month is that most temperamental of players, Pinot Noir. And another tasty slugger from Viña Errázuriz.
Errázuriz Max Pinot Noir 2019
750 ml bottle VINTAGES#: 19244
Errázuriz Max Pinot Noir 2019 is a special 150th anniversary edition commemorating their first year of wine production. Walking the land before he made it his winery, I wonder if founder Don Maximiano Errázuriz ever heard a voice say, ‘If you build it, they will drink.’
This Pinot is an intense cherry red colour. It is fruity with flavours of raspberry and blueberry plus there are hints of balsamic and spice. At any rate, I for one am thrilled he built it. Thank you Don Maximiano.
We’re in the last inning for this month’s visit. But before we go, I’d like to announce that beginning in our July issue and in the months following, I would very much like to include a section with wine favourites from Jim’s Affordable Cellar Dwellers. That means you! So if you have a wine or two that you would like to tell the rest of us about, in your words, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. That’s my pitch.
I hope you’ll take me up on it.
Okay, game over for this month. Thank you to the country of Chile and its skilled vintners who hit home runs with their wines every year.
Until next time, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.
And please let me know if you’d like to share some wine you love with the rest of us. email@example.com