Must-Try Wine of Week: 2012 Montes Alpha Colchagua Chile Cabernet Sauvignon

Environmental consciousness is important to winegrowers such as Montes Winery, whose cabernet sauvignon is produced from entirely dry-farmed vineyards at its Marchigüe and Apalta estates in the Colchagua Valley of Chile.

Recognizing that water is a precious resource, Montes instituted a viticultural project in 2009 that was the first of its kind in Chile: studying the impact of different levels of irrigation on vine growth and grape production. What Montes found is that sustainable dry-farming using irrigation only when there is a significant shortage of rainfall during the growing season results in lower yields of higher quality grapes.

The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon was aged 12 months in French oak barrels, contributing cigar box and coffee latte aromas that highlight the wine’s luscious blackberry fruit. Balanced, firm tannins nicely support the intensely flavored core of blackberry, cassis, and dark chocolate. Most impressive is the generously fruited and persistent finish.

The wine may be enjoyed now or can be cellared for 3 to 6 years for maximum enjoyment. Pair this wine with a charcoal-grilled rib-eye steak, slow-braised beef short ribs, or herb-crusted rack of lamb.

The wine is $24, and available in Orange County at Albertsons Markets, Total Wine & More, and BevMo!

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