An Evening Spent Tasting the Great Wines of the Andes

Wine-tasting events are the cat’s meow. There is no better way to learn about wine than to drink it and adrianna-argentinadiscuss it with the people who made it. You don’t have to read the back of the bottle, nor do you have to sift through info from the bounty of wine apps to learn about what’s in your glass. You have—live and in person—a representative to discuss all matters affecting what’s poured—from terroir, weather, pricing, and availability. My passion for wine has been exponentially stoked over the years simply by a connected conversation in a tasting room or at a tasting event.

I had the pleasure of attending the Great Wines of the Andes tasting last week, sponsored by Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange at Mr. C in Beverly Hills. It was hosted by James Suckling, a renowned wine critic with a history of writing and rating for Wine Spectator before successfully striking out on his own on JamesSuckling.com. Wines from the Andes—specifically Chile and tasting-wines-of-andes2Argentina—are gaining in popularity and traction due to quality and approachable pricing compared to their French or Napa Valley counterparts. This event popped my eyes wide open with its seemingly unlimited amount of delicious wines by fun, friendly, and exciting producers. It was well thought out, with ambient music, and the wines all received a 90-plus rating from James Suckling himself. We received a beautiful Lalique stem glass to take home, and an in-depth guidebook and a new insight on and excitement for purchasing wines from Chile and Argentina. Though the common theme is great cabernet sauvignon from Chile and malbec from Argentina, I discovered a bevy of varietal experiences that stood out from the more than 100 wines. They included:

Argentina
Achaval Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec Mendoza 2013, 95 points
Adrianna Vineyard Chardonnay Mendoza White Bones 2013, 98 points
Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Barda 2015, 95 points
Marcelo Pelleriti Wines Valle de Uco Pelleriti Selection Grand Reserve Blend of Terroir 2012, 93 points

Chilesena-chile
Almaviva Puente Alto 2013, 97 points (72 percent cabernet sauvignon, 19 percent carmenere, 6 percent cabernet franc, 2 percent petit verdot, and 1 percent merlot)
Calyptra Sauvignon Blanc Valle de Cachapoal Gran Reserva 2013, 92 points
Vinedo Chadwick Cabernet Sauvignon Valle de Maipo 2014, 100 points
Sena Valle de Aconcagua 2013, 99 points (58 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent carmenere, 12 percent malbec, 10 percent merlot, and 5 percent petit verdot)

 

“If you care about wine, I strongly believe that there’s no better way to learn about it than drinking. You can read books and memorize maps, but when a wine speaks to you, you’ll never forget it.”—James Suckling

 

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