Great examples of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
October 9, 2017
A refreshing aperitif and great partner for citrus-flavoured dishes or shellfish, Sauvignon Blanc has rocketed up the wine rankings to become the world’s second favourite white wine. As Chile is the world’s third largest producer, there are many fine examples of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc to choose from. Here are just four, each a little different in style.
Viña Garcés Silva Boya Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley, 2016, 12.5% ABV
The must underwent a cold maceration for four hours before being fermented at a very low 12˚C to bring out the maximum fruit aromas and flavours including the tropical notes of passionfruit.
This wine has a pronounced nose with crisp green apple, citrus notes of lemon zest and grapefruit and some tropical notes of passionfruit. There is also a pyrazine note of green pepper. This wine is dry with medium + acidity, light body, medium flavour intensity with notes of citrus fruit and crisp green apples. The finish is medium. This is a very classic style of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wine with fresh acidity and a fruit-forward style and is sure to attract plenty of fans.
Undurraga T.H. Sauvignon Blanc Leyda 2015, 13.5% ABV
This wine is from the same region as Garcés Silva’s Boya, but is much more noticeably a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc with citrus and herbaceous aromas predominating, rather than the tropical notes that come through in Boya.
The nose is very appealing with aromas of lemon and lime zest, floral notes of elderflower and a pyrazine note of green chilli pepper. The technical sheet for the previous year mentions some oak-ageing and lees stirring, but aside from the wine having slightly more body than Boya, these techniques do not appear to have influenced the wine greatly. Certainly there is no yeasty note apparent in its fresh, fruit-forward and slightly herbaceous nose. The acidity is high and lemon-sharp, very refreshing. The flavours are of zingy lemon and lime zest with some herbaceous and floral notes. The finish is medium. This is a classy, elegant Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wine in the classic style; one for traditionalists.
Villard Expresión Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Casablanca Valley, 13.5% ABV.
The whole clusters of hand-harvested grapes were pressed and the juice was chilled for 24 hours. The must was fermented in stainless steel tanks at very low temperatures (12-15˚C) for 18 days. The wine was left over its lees for 4-5 months and suspended 3 times to give it volume in the mouth, which is why this wine has more body than many Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wines, including Garcés Silva’s Boya and Undurraga’s T.H.
This wine has a pronounced nose with the typical notes of Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca: tropical fruit like pineapples and passionfruit, together with citrus notes of grapefruit and sherbert lemon. This dry wine has high acidity, medium + alcohol and medium body. This was a very nicely accomplished wine with enough to please traditionalists, while offering a little more body and texture than many Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wines.
Veramonte Ritual Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Casablanca Valley, 14% ABV
I liked this wine so much, I recently featured it as a Weekend Wine. This is by no means a traditional style of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wine, as the norm is to ferment the must in stainless steel at a low temperature, rack it off its lees (sediment) and let it settle for a short time in stainless steel prior to stabilisation, filtering and bottling. In this case, the wine was fermented in a mixture of concrete eggs and stainless steel tanks. 30% of the wine was then aged in neutral oak, giving the wine more body and smoothness. A further 30% was aged in concrete eggs and the remaining 40% in stainless steel, to retain the fruitiness. The wine was kept over its lees and stirred regularly for 8 months to lend it complexity, intriguing yeasty aromas, and a creamy texture in the mouth.
Like Villard, this Sauvignon Blanc is from Casablanca and it displays the tropical fruit notes so typical of this area, such as pineapple and passionfruit. There are also aromas of crisp green apples, some stone fruit notes, like peaches and apricots and even a hint of ripe melon. There is a surprising yeasty note on the nose (think brioche or croissant), uncommon in Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, from the time the wine spent over its lees. In the mouth, this wine is dry with high acidity and medium (+) alcohol. This wine has more body than is usual in Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc wines and a creamy texture and these are due to oak-ageing and lees stirring. The mouth is a delicious mixture of citrus, stone and green apple fruit and the finish is long.
I found this a delicious wine, though it may not appeal to those who love the light, refreshing body and pure fruit aromas and flavours of the more traditional style of Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca. If you try it, please let me know what you think.
Do you like Chilean Sauvignon Blanc? If so, do you have a favourite style or brand?