Wine: Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon
Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (85 percent), merlot (15 percent)
Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile
In the glass: Montes Cab is a deep ruby-red color with an opaque core going out into a blood-red rim definition with medium viscosity.
On the nose: The wine has classic crushed black currants, creme de cassis, marionberry jam and light smokiness with underlying phenolic compound, vanilla from the new American oak and a touch of earthy herbs.
On the palate: It is palate-pleasing from the get-go with rounded black fruits, influenced strongly by the black currant juice element and some crushed sloe and bramble fruits in another layer. The midpalate starts a little “hot,” but then shows good delineation of black fruit with supple tannins and a juicy core going into the finish, which lingers with yet more cassis, some smoke and a hint of tobacco.
Odds and ends: Chile offers an array of excellent wines for less than $10, as Montes Cab demonstrates. Montes is a fabulous winery in the heart of the famous Colchagua Valley south of Santiago. It features a barrel cellar that, apart from being one of the prettiest in the world, also plays soft Gregorian chants, thereby giving the wine a proper musical “upbringing,” which in turn is supposed to soften the wine. Proof is in the bottle, one might add. Try this wine with grilled tri-tip roast, and drink it between now and 2011.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.