Wine: Apaltagua Pinot Noir Reserva
Grape: Pinot noir
Region: Curico Valley, Chile
In the glass: Apaltagua Pinot Noir is a medium ruby-red with a semi-opaque core going out into a fine crimson rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: There is highly pungent red and black berry fruit with oodles of creamy blackberry jam and raspberry sorbet, as well as underlying notes of oak, milk chocolate pudding, and floral hints of violets and roses.
On the palate: Apaltagua is a nice juicy wine that envelopes the palate with mixed red and black berries, especially crushed raspberries, cranberries and red cherries. The tannins are ripe and harmonious in combination with the searing acidity in the wine, and underlying that is the red fruit, so it works through the midpalate and ends very well with a little lift of red rhubarb at the lingering finish.
Odds and ends: Pinot noir is a relatively recent addition to the many different grape varietals that are being planted in Chile. As I have pointed out previously, Chile is a winegrowing country with enormous potential and they are doing all the right things. The Apaltagua winemakers have found a golden formula in picking just the right grapes from the choicest part of the vineyards, in order to produce this lovely wine. It beats pricier California counterparts by leaps and bounds, and all for less than $10. This will drink well for another three years, and since it is under screwcap, you can enjoy it glass by glass over a couple of days. Try it with charred fillet of salmon on the grill, just dusted with salt and pepper.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.