Chile in Helensburgh

Off to a formal tasting for a very knowledgeable group, in the grand surroundings of the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club.

It became apparent early on that they were really quite traditional in their tastes, falling into two camps, Classic French and Beefy Oz, with only one kindly soul declaring themselves in favour of the Terra Andina Carmenère Rosé, which is a shame, for it is a lovely wine really, refreshingly sharp, water-light, and showing the traditional strawbs-n-cream flavours.

The other Carmenère of the evening was from the De Martino Legado range, and red of hue rather than pink. It is such a Chilean wine, with an attractive green herb streak running under the sweet fruit and cedary woodiness. This was the leader in the Classic French camp.

The Beefy Oz brigade were made happy by the pouring of the Peñalolen Cabernet, from Quebrada de MacĂșl, which this year seems softer than previously, as if 2007, bruited by the Chileans as a perfect Cabernet year, was perhaps too kind to the Peñalolen grapes. Does it make sense to talk about a languid Cabernet?

Both groups enjoyed the Ocio Pinot Noir, the cream of the quintessence of Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Casablanca. The Beefy squad because of the sheer concentration to be found in the wine, and the Francophiles because it is clearly a classy, complex wine, well worth storing for the next ten years. And I enjoyed it because it has that shiny, expensive-marine-varnish aroma. A rare perfume, but always worth seeking out, oh yeah.

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