Last week the Wines of Chile held a blogger tasting featuring eight Chilean Pinot Noirs and Syrahs. All of the wines come from cooler climates within Chile and the tasting was split between four Pinots and four Syrahs. The four Pinots were from Casablanca Valley: Valdivieso Reserve Pinot Noir 2009, Vina Casablanca Nimbus Estate Pinot Noir 2009, Veramonte Ritual Pinot Noir 2009, and Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir 2008. The Syrahs were from for different valleys. Tamaya Syrah Reserva 2009 was from Limari; Loma Larga Syrah 2006 is from Casablanca; Undurraga T.H. Syrah 2009 is from Leyda Valley; and Hacienda Araucano Reserva Syrah 2009 is from Lolol Valley.
I was joined by a number of friends for the tasting and while in full we really enjoyed the range of wines, I want to focus on my favorite from the night: Undurraga’s T.H. Syrah Leyda. T.H. stands for Terroir Hunter. A team of Undurraga specialists in agriculture, weather, and oenology travel around Chile to find the best places to make the best grapes. They grow the same grapes across different micro climates. The Syrah we tasted was from Leyda Valley, but Undurraga also makes a Syrah in Maipo (I’m unclear if there are other T.H. syrahs or if there are just these two. By comparison, Undurraga has three different T.H. Sauvignon Blancs). Undurraga’s T.H. Syrah is made by oenologist Rafael Urrejola, who in 2010 was recognized by the Chilean Association of Culinary and Wine Writers as their Winemaker of the Year.
The Undurraga Syrah Leyda 2009 has a thick purple color. The nose has powerful purple fruit, tobacco, and smoked meat scents, along with a thin wisp of alcohol. When sipped it meets the tongue with blueberry, plum, leather, slight peat and wet soil. The finish is slightly sweet, with noticeable minerality, mild umami, strong tannins and a chewy mouthfeel. There’s a good, balanced astringency and on whole the wine is an excellent mix of terroir and fruit.
It’s an incredibly drinkable wine and a very good value at a price point of around $25. I haven’t seen this wine around DC, but I do believe it’s available in the US, though it has limited production.
Disclosure: This post was made possible because I received free bottles of Valdivieso Reserve Pinot Noir 2009, Vina Casablanca Nimbus Estate Pinot Noir 2009, Veramonte Ritual Pinot Noir 2009, Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir 2008, Tamaya Syrah Reserva 2009, Loma Larga Syrah 2006, Undurrage T.H. Syrah 2009, and Hacienda Araucano Reserva Syrah 2009 for the purposes of participating in this Wines of Chile blogger tasting.