Weekend wine: Sierras de Bellavista Pinot Noir
September 28, 2017
Imagine it’s a cool spring evening and you’re sitting outdoors watching the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean…What kind of wine would you choose for this special moment? For something a little different, how about the raspberry- and toffee-scented Sierras de Bellavista Pinot Noir? It’s a refreshing, light-bodied red with plenty of personality from a small vineyard high up in the Andes mountains.
Tasting note: Sierras de Bellavista Pinot Noir 2015, Colchagua Valley, 12.5% ABV
The aromas of this pale ruby-coloured wine evolved intriguingly from a first delicious smell of fresh raspberries on opening, through a toffee and burnt sugar note – not unpleasant but really quite unusual – to the characteristic forest floor aromas typical of Pinot Noir, which became apparent about an hour later.
This is a dry wine with high acidity, medium (-) tannins, light body and medium alcohol. The finish is long. Overall, it’s a fruit-forward style of Pinot Noir with aromas and flavours of raspberries, strawberry conserve and a hint of cranberries, together with a herbal note and that unusual touch of burnt sugar.
Being a lighter red wine, Pinot Noir is a good choice for more delicately flavoured dishes, so rather than barbecued beef or sausages, think of roast pork, pan-fried tuna steaks or mushroom-flavoured dishes.
Viña Sierras de Bellavista is a small vineyard in the Andes mountains at an altitude of more than 1,000 metres – check out their Facebook page for beautiful photos of vines flanked by snow-capped mountains.
Around the world, many wineries are experimenting with planting vines at high altitudes. Temperatures are cooler higher up and the difference between daytime and night-time temperatures is often greater than it is in the valleys. Grapes respond well to this, ripening slowly and surely by day and resting by night. Slower ripening gives the grapes time to fully develop their aromas and flavours. It also means that the acidity of the grape is retained for longer and the sugars develop more slowly, making for bright, fresh wines with moderate alcohol levels. This wine is a clear example of this with its fresh acidity and just 12.5% alcohol – low by Chilean standards.