A Wine Lover’s Weekly Review Of $10 Wine – Yet Another $10 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

As the title indicates, over the years we have reviewed several Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons, including some quite inexpensive examples. Today’s offering comes from the Curico Valley approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) south of the capital, Santiago. The area has a Mediterranean climate and is tucked in between the coastal hills and the Atlantic Ocean. In this lovely area the soil is composed of clay, sand, and decomposed granite. The area is part of a famous Chilean wine revival that dates back to the late 1970s. Perhaps that is why the history section of the company web site makes no mention of the years between its founding in 1865 and 1980. Our companion wine is an Israeli Bordeaux blend at more than five times the cost.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review were purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, Emuna Tempranillo Mendoza Argentina 2011 13.1 % alcohol about $10.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials.. “Tasting Note : Garnet red with browning edge; Sweet blackberry jam, mint and leather aromas; Dry, light-medium body, soft fruit and soft tannin; mature dry wine with fruity, moderate finish. Serving Suggestion : Tex/Mex. Dishes; BBQ meats; Poultry.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was slightly sweet offering a good balance among acidity, tannins, and plums. The initial meal centered on store-bought barbecued, all too chewy overcooked beef ribs. The wine tastily sliced through the meat’s grease. A red cabbage and mayonnaise salad stole the liquid’s acidity. Don’t misunderstand, this was not a good thing. In response to my slathering fiery Yemeni green jalapeno sauce on the meat, the libation picked up power. When wedded to homemade (read delicious) garlicky, oily roasted eggplant, this black cat came up with mostly acidity and no fruit. A yummy square of Swiss dark bittersweet chocolate really gutted the contents of my glass.

The second meal focused on a paprika dusted, somewhat dry, barbecued chicken breast. Now our Chilean friend was hearty, responding with a good mixture of plums, dark cherries, and pleasant oak. But it was too sweet. Pairing with zesty guacamole rendered the libation more acidic and less sweet. Fruit juice candy muted these fermented grapes and yet its cherries grew darker.

The final meal involved a boxed cheese pizza (I was tempted to see if the box was as tasty as the pizza) that I liberally doused with grated Parmesan cheese to no avail. The juice was refreshingly acidic but it was grapey. Fresh strawberries added a burnt taste to the grapiness.

Final verdict. I think I would buy this wine again but it is a close call. If I ever start doing supermarket pizza reviews, perish the thought. I’ll talk with my lawyer before releasing the name of this insult to my tastebuds. There are still enough slices for two more sets of wine reviews.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine Iwine with good company. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His Italiian  travel website is http://www.travelitalytravel.com .

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