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Montes Grand Cru Tasting Validates Chile Top Quality

Posted: Friday, 07 July 2012 12:13

Montes Grand Cru Tasting Validates Chile Top Quality

July 07 : Eight years after Viña Errazuriz established superiority or at least started rubbing shoulders with the Top French and the cult Italian wines at the famous Berlin Tasting, the Apalta-based Viña Montes has now achieved enviable results at the Montes Grand Cru Challenge, a double-blind tasting organised in Los Angeles last month, validating the claims of Chileans that they have some excellent vineyards.

Viña Montes Grand Cru Challenge organised in Los Angeles last month by Montes and their importer, Thank God its Chilean (TGIC) pitted three top wines from the Apalta-based winery, Montes Alpha “M,” Montes Folly and Purple Angel against some of the world’s greatest wines from France, Italy, California and Australia- like Laffite, Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Opus One, Grange and Chapoutier.

 The wines were presented in two flights, with Montes Bordeaux-blend  wines ranking second and fourth in the first flight, and Montes Folly (Syrah) edging out Penfolds Grange slightly in the second flight. Following are the wines tasted and the Results

A. Tastings- Bordeaux-style wines:

Opus One 2004
Purple Angel by Montes 2007
Chateau Montelena 2004
Tenuta dell ‘Ornellaia 2004
Ch. Lafite Rothschild 2004
Ch. Haut Brion 2004
Sassicaia 2004
Montes Alpha M 2004

Result- Rankings

1. Ch. Lafite Rothschild 2004 - Average Score 92.8
2. Montes “M” 2004 - Average Score 91.1
3. Tenuta dell ‘Ornellaia 2004 - Average Score 90.8
4. Montes Purple Angel 2007  - Average Score 90.2

B. Rhone-style wines:

Chapoutier Ermitage “L’Ermite” 2004
Bonaccorsi Syrah Star Lane Vineyard 2005
Montes Folly 2004
Penfolds Grange Bin 95 2004

Result- Rankings

1. Montes Folly 2004 - Average Score 91.7
2. Penfolds Grange Bin 95 2004 - Average Score 91.5
Dennis Murray, son of the legendry Douglas Murray who died  prematurely a couple of years ago, informs delWine, ’ We feel extremely honored and fortunate with these tasting results. Montes started 24 years ago as a dream of four friends to do better wines in Chile and of course to see our wines being recognized as being in the same league as some of the best in the world. So it is a long sought dream come true, we can only express our congratulations to Aurelio and his talented winemaking team for achieving incredible results and celebrate with a bottle of Montes Folly!’

Nestor Riveros, Minister Counsellor (Commercial) of the Embassy of Chile in Indly and the heads of ProChile, who is very bullish and aggressive about Chilean wines in India is elated but not surprised. “ We are immensely proud with the news but this doesn’t surprise us because its founders in 1998- Montes and  Murray - had a goalto produce wines in new world in Chile, world-class wines  for wine lovers worldwide, and their first achievements was seen more than a decade age when they became pioneers in placing Chile with the highest scores in their varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon Montes Alpha  and Montes Alpha M, in internationally renowned magazines such as Decanter, drawing the attention of wine lovers worldwide.Recognition for  the wines of Montes as described, are not only achieved globally but in the Chilean wine industry and its Terroir Zonewine production areas in the central valley of Chile.”

Tasting panel

Anthony Dias Blue- Tasting Panel magazine- Moderator
Christopher Lavin – Advanced Sommelier, CSW
Henri Marquis – Sommelier, Fig and Olive
Lance Reed – Wine Director, BOA Steakhouse
Bonnie Graves – Food and Wine Editor, Moon Tide Luxury Publications
Tony Aspler – Wine Atlas of Canada
Eric Espuny – Wine Director, Langham Huntington Hotel
Dana Farner – Wine Director, Cut Restaurant
Eric Moe – Food and Beverage Director, The California Club
Cameron Russell – Wine Director, Gordon Ramsay at the London
Dore Kraus –Wing Hop Fung Gourmet
Duc Pham – Blossom Restaurant
Shannon Beattie – Sommelier, Cecconi Restaurant

Recent comments of Jay McInerney in the Wall Street Journal describing Apalta vineyard, as the first Grand Cru of Chile after he visited Chile a couple of months ago, was instrumental in Montes and their US  importer organising the double-blind tasting in which top sommeliers and wine professionals took part for judging.

Talking of Montes wines, Alex Guarachi, CEO of the US import company TGIC, says, “They are the icons of the Andes and I'm proud to have the partnership with Aurelio Montes and the Montes team. Today was a great day, as the Grand Cru Challenge validated my long held belief that the Montes wines are special and able to stand strong amongst the most coveted wines in the world.”

Tony Aspler, the Dean of Canadian wine journalists and author of Wine Atlas of Canada who was one of the judges says, ‘I have been following the Chilean wine industry since my first visit in 1985 and have made several visits since then. The growth both in the quality of the wines and the confidence of the winemakers over those years has been exponential.’

 Viña Montes was founded in 1988 by Aurelio Montes and late Douglas Murray, both veterans of the Chilean wine industry. Along with partners Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, and later the Garcés and Barros families, they created Viña Montes with the goal of elevating the quality and reputation of Chilean wines in the domestic and international market.

Montes has played a pivotal role in increasing the awareness and acclaim for Chilean wines in more than 100 countries worldwide.  In India, they have been imported by Sanjay Menon of Sonarys since the early 90s and were perhaps the first Chilean wine imported.

Berlin Tasting of Viña Errazuriz

This is not the first time that such a competition has been organised by bold Chilean quality wine producers.  Eduardo Chadwick, owner of Viña Errazuriz organised what has come to be known as the Berlin Tasting in January, 2004 when he had 3 of his top wines as part of a 16-wines bouquet judged blind by a panel of 36 European judges.

Viñedo Chadwick 2000 from Viña Errázuriz’s Maipo Valley and Seña 2001 (a partnership wine between Viña Errázuriz and Robert Mondavi of California) scored ahead of Château Lafite 2000, Château Margaux, Château Latour  and Italian cult wines Tignanello, Sassicaia, Solaia and Guado al Tasso. Don Maximiano was the third wine that was entered in the competition.At the time Steven Spurrier was quoted as saying “now the world knows that Chile produces premium wines.”

Conducting these blind tastings in different cities worldwide is now a part of Viña Errázuriz’s global educational programme to demonstrate the world class status of Chilean wines to an international audience. Every year 2 tastings are done in a familiar fashion- 2011 saw Zurich and Helsinki while Moscow has been the latest venue.

One hopes Eduardo is ready for such an event in India soon.

Subhash Arora

For an earlier related articles, click

Blog: Death of a Chilean Wine Statesman

Iconic Wineries of Chile



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