Are you looking for a good-quality, affordable Cabernet Sauvignon? Wondering how to choose from among the barrage of Chilean reds lining the shelves in supermarkets and wine stores? 

In preparation for Chile’s national holiday on 18 September, a group of 8 people recently got together to blind taste 6 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon wines that retail in Chile at between $5,000 and $11,000 pesos. We each scored the wines out of 10 (10 being perfect, 1 being undrinkable) and then worked out the average score for each wine.

tasting-panel-1
Tasting panel members hard at work

Many thanks to the tasting panel members: Crystal Minafi (USA), Carola de Rodt (Chile), Kerry Dudman (UK/USA), Lauren Hand (USA), Ricardo Parada (Chile), Dave Harry (UK), Smilja Radosav (ex Yugoslavia) and Helen Conway (UK).

Bottle line-up
Bottle line-up

Results:

  1. Ventisquero Grey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo. 14% ABV. Score 7.125.
  2. Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Maipo. 14% ABV. Score 6.875.
  3. Ramirana Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Maipo. 13.5% ABV. Score 6.
  4. Chamán Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Costa. 14.5% ABV. Score 5.5.
  5. Miguel Torres Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Curicó. 14% ABV. Score 5 .
  6. Tres Palacios Family Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo. 14% ABV. Score 4.25.
The wines are revealed
The wines are revealed

My tasting notes

Ventisquero Grey Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo. 14% ABV. (Retail Price $11,000 in Chile, 2012 vintage £13.49 in UK from Slurp.co.uk)

A big wine, ideal for accompanying meat or richly flavoured meals. This wine revealed a black fruit nose and in the mouth had high levels of acidity, lots of grippy tannins, full body, pronounced flavours and aromas of black fruit, especially blackcurrants and a hint of minerality.  Very pleasant.

Which wine is best?
Carola considering which wine is best

Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Maipo. 14% ABV. (Retail Price $8,899 in Chile)

I strongly recommend decanting this wine a while before drinking. It was slow to open and several of us found it nondescript at first and were surprised when we tried it again half an hour later. Rich black fruit aromas, combined with notes of spice. Lots of tooth-coating tannins and medium (+) acidity, medium body and finish. Black fruit and ashtray notes in the mouth. A good option for a barbecue or other meat-based meal. It would also pair with cheese-based dishes.

Ramirana Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Maipo. 13.5% ABV. (Retail Price $7,410 in Chile)

A very classic Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon with clean blackcurrant aromas and a great choice for a barbecue or other full-flavoured meal. It was full-bodied, with fairly high acidity, lots of tooth-coating tannins and pronounced flavours, particularly of black fruit.

Chamán Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Costa. 14.5% ABV. (Retail Price $9,190 in Chile)

A little shy on opening, the nose revealed notes of blackcurrants and spices. Medium, tooth-coating tannins, fairly high acidity and good body, this was a classic style of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and would pair well with red meat or cheese-based dishes.

serious-judgingMiguel Torres Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Curicó. 14% ABV. (Retail Price $7,990 in Chile)

A smooth, easy-to-drink, versatile wine that could be enjoyed on its own or with a wide variety of food. A subtle black fruit nose and medium body, acidity and tannins, this is the lightest of the wines we tried.

Tres Palacios Family Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo. 14% ABV. (Retail Price $7700 in Chile)

Herbal and cooked fruit aromas and flavours. High acidity and medium tannins and body, this wine was disappointing.


More information about Cabernet Sauvignon:

Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine of choice – the lowdown on the different styles of Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

Budget Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon – results of a tasting of wines retailing under $5,000 a bottle.

 

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