|The Aconcagua Valley - stunning !|
They key principle to remember with Chile is that elevation, a function of distance east-west relative to the Pacific coast, is generally more significant than north-south latitude. And as Quentin Sadler who was running the Errazuriz stall at the Taste of Christmas event explained, the Andes rise much more steeply in Chile than in next-door Argentina, meaning that distances of even just a few kilometres can be very significant.
Quite dark in the glass for a Pinot, it had a nose of raspberries and cherries, with hints of earthy truffleyness. The palate was smooth and savoury with some spice and smooth tannins from oak aging (9 months in oak, 25% new).
The "Wild Ferment" tag refers to fermentation by the wild yeasts that are normally present on the grape skins. According to the Errazuriz website, these native yeasts produce a greater combination and proportion of by-products under the demanding conditions of the fermentation process, and therefore the wine develops more complex and distinctive aromas and flavours
As Quentin explained, the extra couple of degrees of alcohol result in a wine that is riper, juicier and more approachable, but less complex and with less aging potential as a result - which is apparently what most wine-buyers look for these days.
For those interested, here is a map of where Errazuriz's vineyards lie:
Errazuriz "Wild Ferment" Pinot Noir 2009, £10.99, Majestic
Errazuriz Estate Carmenere 2009, £7.99, Majestic, Wine Rack
Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, £10.99, Wine Rack
Taste of Christmas - http://www.tasteofchristmas.com/
Errazuriz - http://www.errazuriz.com/errazuriz/index.html
Quentin Sadler - http://www.quentinsadler.com/
Majestic - http://www.majestic.co.uk/
Wine Rack - http://www.winerack.co.uk/