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Page Two of Chile, Part 2: Recommended Wines That Are Easy to Like, Easy on Your Pocketbook

Montes is Chilean through and through. It was founded in 1988 by four Chileans with one goal: to produce premium quality wines. In just two decades, its become one of Chiles most respected wineries — one of those wineries you can rely on at every level, from its $12.50 Classic Series to its flagship $90 Alpha M.

Aurelio Montes is the winerys namesake and one of Chiles most prominent winemakers. Hes also the president of Montes and a consultant to several other wineries. Montes, like Lapostolle, was an early believer in the potential of the now-revered Apalta area of Colchagua. Hes also a big believer in the future of Syrah in Chile, which along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenre are the winerys great strengths.

From the get-go, Montes has pioneered in just about everything: scouting out new regions, using state-of-the-art technology, insisting on top quality, developing Syrah plantations in Colchagua.

Its wines too are innovative. In 1998 it released Alpha M, the first Chilean ultra-premium Bordeaux-style blend. In 2002 Montes impressed the wine world with Chiles first ultra-premium 100% Syrah wine, called Montes Folly because its grown on inclines of more than 45 degrees. And Purple Angel was Chiles first super-premium Carmenre.

Montes is also distinguished by its attention to detail: Maturing vines are serenaded with monastic chants; grapes for Montes Alpha M are selected one at a time; feng shui principles were incorporated in its $6.5 million Apalta winery.

Look for the angels on the labels, there because founding partner Douglas Murray has a grand faith in and fondness for them. So far, his faith in them has been amply rewarded.

Sauvignon Blanc Classic Series Casablanca Valley 2008, $12.50: Fresh, unoaked; Aromas and flavors: Grassy, lime and tropical fruits

Cherub Ros of Syrah Colchagua Valley 2008, $17: Crisp, good acidity, well structured; Aromas and flavors: Roses, strawberry, raspberry and cherry

Terra Andina was founded in 2001, but its part of the Claro group, which has much experience in Chilean wines. Terra Andina (Land of the Andes) produces three tiers: 1) the varietal, or entry, level ($9), a blend of two to six different vineyard locations from multiple regions, 2) the reserve tier ($13), from some of Chiles most important regions and 3) the Altos line ($19), innovative red blends of two different grape varieties from some of Chiles best terroirs. The goal in the blending is to find each grapes perfect match or soul mate. Terra Andina was the first to blend Carmenre and Carignan, and its 2007 Altos Carmenre/Carignan has already won gold and silver medals at wine competitions in Chile and Europe.

Terra Andina wines are crafted using grapes from more than 60 different vineyards in various growing regions with different microclimates and different soils to create cross-regional blends. The vineyards are found throughout the country, as far north as the Limar Valley and as far south as Bo Bo. Terra Andina has capitalized on Chiles diverse growing conditions to seek out the best places to plant each grape variety. The result is reasonably priced, expressive, fruit forward, balanced wines.

Carmenre Central Valley 2008, $9: Luscious, soft tannins; Aromas and flavors: Blackberry, blackcurrant, plum and spice

Carmenre Reserva Rapel Valley 2007, $13: Full flavored, well balanced; Aromas and flavors: Cherry, blueberry, plum and spice

Page Three>>


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