A big, bold red wine from Chile – and Costco!

The Aresti 2016 Gran Reserva ($12.99 at Costco) is what we refer to in the wine business as a “big red wine.”  Yeah, it’s a technical term…

Fast facts:

  • 2016 Aresti Trisquel Gran Reserva Red Blend,

    Curicó Valley, Chile  ($12.99 @Costco; California – Costco Item #: 1314386)

Bottle and glass of Kirkland Signature Toscana.
Tranport yourself to the Tuscan countryside.

 

One of the most engaged and enthusiastic readers of this blog is my friend, neighbor and cycling compatriot Moshe, who encouraged me to try this wine.  I was familiar with it and its gorgeous label, but had stopped short of actually buying and tasting it.  Speaking of the wine’s label, here is a tighter shot of it to let you appreciate more of its graphic appeal:

 

Front label of 2016 Aresti Trisquel Gran Reserva Red Blend Wine
Ready for its close-up and to reveal the wines that make up the blend: Cabernet Sauvignon (44%), Syrah (42%) and a dash of Petit Verdot 14%.

 

Unlike past visits, my most recent wine spelunking expedition to Costco resulted in a bottle of this wine being deposited in my shopping cart. Given my friend’s enthusiastic endorsement, I was expecting good things.  I wasn’t disappointed. 

It would be an understatement to say that this wine is muscular and has structure. It is to wine what espresso is to coffee.  If you like your red wines to be big, robust and chewy, you’ll probably like this wine.  If you like your wines to be soft and smooth, you may want to take a pass on this one, or simply buy a single bottle to try it out.

Tasting and Food Pairing Notes:  

This is what I think of as a “steakhouse wine” and it would pair really well with fatty foods like roasted meats and soft cheeses. 

Here is what the label says about the wine: 

“…displays complex fruit aromas of plum and blackberries combined with hints of mocha and coffee due to the aging process in oak barrels. The palate is sweet and juicy, with a nice structure and soft, ripe tannins.”

I mostly agree with this assessment, although they may be guilty of engaging in some wishful thinking when describing the tannins as “soft and ripe.”  They may get there after a few years of aging (or after letting the wine breathe a bit after opening) but today they are still young and rough, even after three-plus years of aging.

Getting (Re) Acquainted with the Wines of Chile

Ever since Chile began to climb the global wine ladder in the 1980s and ’90s, it has been varietal Cabernet Sauvignon and, to a lesser extent, varietal Carmenere that have fueled the country’s ascent. But when you take a close look at what’s happening west of the Andes these days, it is Chile’s blended red wines that have emerged as its best wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère remain dominant players in the overall blend, but often Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Carignan and Malbec along with even more obscure grapes including Petit Sirah and Petit Verdot are included.

This is a somewhat unconventional blend, a bit of a mash up of Rhone (Syrah) and Bordeaux (Cab and Petit Verdot) varieties.  But it works.  What a good blend offers, potentially more so than a varietal wine, is aromatic harmony, textural balance and greater depth and complexity of flavors. That’s the core difference between varietals and blends – it puts more colors on the winemakers palette, and on your palate. 

We have featured some more traditional red blends in recent posts.

You can revisit our review of a GSM from Trader Joe’s here: https://wp.me/p9ygim-nO

You can get a quick refresher on Bordeaux blends here:  https://wp.me/p9ygim-4O

Next Gen Chilean Wines

Chile has long been associated with reliable, inexpensive wines.  But a new generation of winemakers is beginning to assert the country can compete in the fine wine space. This red assemblage (wine-speak for a red blend or cuvée) is proof positive that Chilean winemakers like Aresti (one of the most recognized Curicó wineries) are muscling their way onto the world stage of fine red wines.

 

Map of Chile and its wine regions.
A guide to the wine regions of Chile.

 

So my friend Moshe gave this wine a thumbs up.  So do I.  But don’t just take our word about this wine.  The esteemed critic James Suckling bestowed 92 points on this bottling.  It says so right there on the capsule/neck.  But in the final analysis, the only thing that really matter is whether YOU like this wine. If you try it, let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Cheers!

 

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