- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Veramonte, Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserva,” Maipo Valley, 2004, $10

An excellent value, this cabernet from Chile tastes genuinely compelling. It has plenty of

rich, dark berry fruit flavor but also displays subtle notes reminiscent of cedar, spice and tobacco. Wines with this sort of complexity usually cost significantly more, so this one is well worth buying by the case.

Central Chile has a series of valleys running from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes Mountains, allowing cool maritime air to penetrate far inland. This topography makes it one of the world’s best places for growing red Bordeaux grape varieties — particularly cabernet, merlot and what is now a Chilean specialty, carminere.

The wines sometimes taste a bit too herbaceous, but when vintners get the grapes fully ripe, the results can be spectacular.

This value-priced cabernet hints at the best that Chilean producers can achieve. (To taste the very best, you do need to spend more.) Those hints, however, are delicious because they are truly multilayered. With evident but pliant tannins, it is a wine to drink in the near-term, and it will pair nicely with all sorts of full-flavored meat or pasta dishes. (Imported by Franciscan Estate Selections.)

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