When it comes to wine I’ll admit, I don’t know too much compared to my experiences with spirits and beer. I’ve covered various tastings within the site and tried my fair share of wines over the years, but it’s rare I get the chance to try a selection of the same brand in one go. With this, I’ve decided to feature a brand I put as part of my ‘Christmas Selection’ within the festive issue of VIVA Lifestyle magazine. Welcome to the Chilean delights of Frontera.
With vineyards found in earth’s southernmost frontier where the central valley is located within a fertile basin, Frontera are seen as a new-world wine, a category of wines produced outside the traditional wine-growing areas of Europe and the Middle East. 2014 saw Chile’s biggest wine brand re-launched and focused on the new packaging and labels. Going back to the roots of ‘Lira Popular’, a traditional Chilean way of visual storytelling, each expression of Frontera now tells its influence on the grapes used, flavours gained and experiences created.
With this, I’m going to dive straight into an expression from each of the sub-categories; red, white and rose. Below, I give to you my tasting notes alongside the Lira Popular –
Frontera Pinot Grigio, 2013 – 11.5%
Soft green fruits on the nose, apple and pear dominating. Crisp with fresh notes of the green apples coming through on the palate. Small bursts of floral near the lingering, light and slightly dry finish.
My name means pineapple in French / My last name makes me worthy / Of a lineage from the Middle Ages / I was Charles IV of Luxembourg’s favourite variety / Due to my tropical flavours and floral aromas . . . grapes with magical roots
Frontera Rose, 2014 – 12%
A Cabernet Sauvignon Blush. Light aromatic nose of strawberries and sweet cherries. Rich sweetness on the palate, smooth with strawberry dominating. Creamy with a slightly dry finish.
In the glass I stand out for my colour and elegance / I amaze with my floral aromas and I enchant with my delicate flavour / I’m joyful, smooth & bright . . . grapes with magical roots
Frontera Merlot, 2013 – 12.5%
Deep velvet aromas of stalked cherry and oak. Smooth on the palate with dry cracked black pepper, aromatic cherry and raspberries. Creates a dry lingering finish.
It was a little blackbird / That gave me my name / Mirlo they called it / Beautiful and dark / Two things we share / Along with a joyful song . . . grapes with magical roots
A great trio, and as you can imagine, all serve well either on its own or with food. The Merlot is perfect for pasta, cheese, meat and chicken, whilst the Pinot Grigio is great for fresh salads. The Rose is seen as your second wine of the meal, striking up a combination with sweet treats and seafood.
For a no hassle approach to your wine selection, the Frontera range should be a name to look out for no matter what time of the year it is. Give them a go, they’re available nationwide in your local supermarket.
The 10th September saw the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) announce its Beautiful South wine results at the Wines of the Beautiful South, London Olympia.
A strong performance was seen by South Africa, as they topped the Beautiful South medal leader board with an impressive 632 medals. Eight Gold Outstanding medals were awarded in the competition, South Africa picked up seven of these as well as 29 Gold. Highlights include leading wine and spirit producer KWV picking up 22 medals and Nederburg Wines being awarded three of the eight Gold Outstanding medals.
Producers in Chile also performed well, the country collected 375 medals, including a Gold Outstanding for its Casas del Bosque Syrah Pequenas Producciones 2012 and four Silver Outstanding medals were awarded to white wines all from the Aconcagua Region.
Among Argentina’s 234 medal haul, it was the country’s famous Malbec wines from Mendoza, which stood out and were awarded four Gold medals.
Brazil, hot on the heels of Chile and Argentina, picked up 19 medals including five Silver medals. Four of these were awarded to sparkling wines, a style which the country has recently been praised for.
The supermarkets put in a strong performance, Tesco was awarded 11 medals including a Silver for its Finest* Stellenbosch Red 2011. Sainsbury’s picked up eight medals, with its Taste the Difference Morador Malbec 2013 winning a Bronze. Lidl’s Cimarosa Chilean Pedro Jimenez 2013 was awarded a Silver medal. Aldi was awarded a Bronze for its The Exquisite Collection Uco Valley Malbec 2014.
IWSC General Manager, Ewan Lacey commented, “South Africa has done extremely well in the Beautiful South results. This year IWSC hosted showcases in South Africa and South America earlier this year, and the level of wines discovered were outstanding. Interestingly, looking at the results as a whole, it was interesting to see that we found that 2013 vintages were the strongest in this year’s competition.”
A few weeks back, Castlefield in Manchester was the base for the Oxford wine agency of Stevens Garnier to showcase their very best offerings in their latest trade tasting roadshow. Attracting wine makers from countries including Austria, Portugual, California and France, as well as industry folk like Ruth Yates of Corks Out and Chris Green of the Manchester Wine School, you just know your going to be in for a treat! But before we get onto the wines, who are Stevens Garnier?
It all started in 1976 by two gentleman named Edward Garnier and Alastair Stevens, and carried on by Alastair after the early departure of Edward for the next 32 years. The relatively small team invested themselves into ground breaking imports from Argentina, Chile, Australia and Canada in the early eighties – something of an unknown territory back then. Stevens Garnier were also amongst the first to bring Bag in Box wines to the UK and one of the first to form a winery/agency joint venture when Sogrape of Portugal took a stake in the company in 1986.
So with a little Stevens Garnier knowledge brought to the table, the event was set in the Castlefield Rooms next to Dukes 92, where a horseshoe of wines (105 to be precise, with 5 Champagnes and 10 ports also making the grade) were presented to us, with the wine makers waiting with a wealth of information as we prepared to sip and swirl through the delights! Now I have to admit, I didn’t try all 120 offerings, but below I give to you a selection with my thoughts and tasting notes on each –
Champagne Bernard Remy Carte Blanche – 12%
Light honey and citrus on the nose that develops into an intense freshness once it hits the palate. Lots of mint flavours mixing well with the lively bubbles.
Champagne Bernard Remy Blanc de Blancs– 12%
Bright and lively nose with no significant aroma, but soft offerings of citrus are present on the palate.
Champagne Bernard Remy Grand Cru – 12%
Soft citrus aromas swirl on the nose and hit hard on the palate and gives a long after-taste.
Champagne Bernard Remy Rose – 12%
Lots of fresh fruit on the nose dance well, with significant dark red fruits coming through on the palate to create an intense finish.
Champagne Bernard Remy Vintage – 12%
Light aromas of vanilla lie on the nose, with a good hit of floral flavours hitting the palate.
Cave de Kientzheim-Kayesersberg Pinot Gris 2010, France – 13%
Bold hit of fresh, ripe fruits on the nose that leads straight onto the palate. Short, sharp and crisp.
TYDY Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays de Loire 2011, France – 12.5%
Herbal and floral aromas mix well on the nose, with a good blast of grapefruit. Fresh fruit flavours on the palate, with a fantastic crisp finish.
Domaine Joel Delauney Les Cabotines Rose 2010, France– 13%
Lots of fresh fruits that become masked with a subtle flow of spice on the nose. Soft offerings of fruit on the palate sooth down the aromas that leads to a refreshing end.
On the nose there is a good mix of blackcurrant and pepper, with the tannins on the palate emphasising the aromas. A long, fruity finish.
Jeaninne Boutin Cote Rotie ‘Bonnevaux’ 2009, France – 13.5%
Rich blackberry aromas are complimented by floral notes on the nose. Soft fruit offerings on the palate that leads to a good, fresh finish.
Chateau Genisson Blanc, AOC Cadillac 2003, France – 13%
Aromas of floral and peach combine with almond on the nose. Bold fruit flavours on the palate with a fantastic long sweetness.
Canapi Pinot Grigio 2011, Italy – 12.2%
Lots of citrus and tropical notes on the nose that combine well on the palate too. Well-balanced and refreshing.
Canapi Nero d’Avola 2010, Italy– 13.4%
A blast of red cherries hits the nose before hints of spice follows it onto the palate. Raspberry flavours follow nicely.
Sonsierra Perfume de Sonsierra 2009, Spain– 14.5%
Fantastic mix of strawberry and liquorice mixing well on the nose, with subtle hints of roasted coffee greeting the palate. An incredibly long and smooth offering.
Duque de Viseu Dao Branco, Portugal – 13%
Ripe fruit aromas of grapefruit and pear combine on the nose, which become heavy once it hits the palate.
Herdade do Peso Reserva, Portugal – 14.5%
Intense mixture of blackberries and raspberries on the nose with subtle aromas of spice and pepper coming through. Soft and well-balanced on the palate.
Los Boldos Momentos Chardonnay 2011, Chile– 13.5%
Aromas of green fruit blend nicely, with tropical fruits developing nicely on the palate.
Finca Flichman Tanguero Chardonnay 2011, Argentina – 13%
Light white fruits combine with floral notes on the nose, with a long offering of pineapple and peach on the palate finish.
Finca Flichman Misterio Malbec 2011, Argentina – 13.3%
Lots of deep aromas of black plums on the nose. Blackberry notes on the palate that creates a subtle finish.
Finca Flichman Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina – 13.5%
Deep aromas of blackcurrant and pepper on the nose, developing into a spice offering on the palate with red fruits and hints of chocolate.
Finca Flichman Paisaje Tupungato, Argentina – 15%
Lively nose of ripe cherry aromas that are also present on the palate. Long, delicate finish.
McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2010, California– 14.5%
Bold aromas of cassis on the nose mixes well with sweet hazelnut. Ripe black fruit flavours on the palate that creates a long lingering finish.
A fantastic varied selection, with both the Chateau Genisson Blanc, AOC Cadillac 2003 and Canapi Pinot Grigio 2011 being personal highlights for me. I’ve decided to keep the tasting notes of the two port selections separate, with the full range of both Offley and Sandeman tried and tested. This will be going live in the near future!
All of the above wines are available via the Stevens Garnier website, and the majority that you have read come in at a reasonable price.
Last week, Corks Out in Timperley hosted their monthly wine tasting, this time looking at offerings suited for the BBQ summer weather. Hosted by Karim, we were to be delving into Prosecco, three white, a rose and two reds all from various old and new world countries.
So below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –
Le Dolci Colline Prosecco, Italy – 11.5%
Very fresh, light citrus and lively on the nose that follows onto the palate. Slightly dry to begin with, but flows into a creamy texture with a long tingle of peach and grapefruit.
Nostros Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Chile – 13%
Rather intense and aromatic on the nose, with grapefruit dominating. A sharp beginning on the palate, with long flavours of grass and fresh green fruits mixing well. Slightly dry and acidic at the end. Goes well with salmon.
Surani Fiano 2010, Italy– 13.5%
Slow, mellow hints of apple on the nose. Smooth and slightly creamy on the palate, but evolves into a rich and slightly sweet ending that is perfect for creamy pasta dishes.
Casa de Mouraz Branco 2008, Portugal– 13.5%
On the nose there are lots of honey and sherry aromas blending well with a sweetness at the end. A bold offering of apricot on the palate that gives a long and intense ride.
Gayda Rose, France– 12.5%
Intense on the nose with lots of fresh strawberries. A mouth-watering flavour of summer fruits hits the palate that continues into a long, fresh finish.
Chateau de Fleurie 2010, France – 13%
A soft cherry and pepper nose evolves into a sharp hit on the palate, but soon softens. A long finish with a slightly dry end.
Explorer Pinot Noir 2009, Chile – 14%
Lots of cherry, chocolate and raspberry flavours on the nose, with a slight gooseberry aroma creeping in at the end. On the palate, a fresh yet heavy dose of vanilla and plum mix well in this offering that is neither short or long.
A fantastic selection was on offer to us all, with Karim explaining well the origins and back-story of each wine. His hints and tips on food pairings and his insight into the correct temperature to enjoy were well received, with many of the group purchasing bottles there and then! I myself passed on the opportunity, but for the sole reason of saving the pennies for when I attend Corks Out next big extravaganza – The Summer Tasting at the Park Royal in Warrington. There will be around 200 wines, spirits and Champagnes on show, so I’m sure to come away with something good!