Weekend wine: Gillmore Hacedor de Mundos
September 22, 2017
Do you have a favourite brand of wine that you buy when you want something a bit special and that you know you can rely on to be good? I have a few go-to brands and Gillmore Wines is one of them. This is a small, family producer in Chile’s Maule Valley with just a few bottles in their range. The wines do vary from vintage to vintage but I’ve never yet had a bottle that I didn’t enjoy. The Gillmore Hacedor de Mundos line comprises two wines made from old vines – a Cabernet Franc and the Mezcla Tinta that I’m featuring today. This is an intriguing and complex Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that, at six years old, is showing evolution in the bottle.
What is evolution in the bottle?
Not all wines are able to age well. Many are best enjoyed right away and if you leave them too long (a year or more), they just fade away and become a dull, lifeless liquid or worse. For a red wine to age, it needs to be very good quality to start with, with a firm enough structure (acidity, tannins) and fruit aromas to be able to age gracefully. Then a slow process occurs where the fruit aromas and flavours begin to fade and are replaced by new aromas and flavours, which can include notes like chocolate, leather, coffee or mushrooms. Eventually the aromas can amalgamate to produce a complex bouquet that intrigues and seduces and it is difficult to discern individual smells from among the whole.
During the ageing, the colour of the wine changes too, as the blue pigments fade. So a young wine that started out an aggressive shade of blue-hued purple becomes ruby, which eventually starts to fade and take on orange hues. Very old wines can be orange or – if exposed to a lot of oxygen – they can go brown – Tawny Port and Madeira wines are a good example of this.
The other main result of bottle-evolution is a softening of tannins. There are some wines around the world, such as those made with Nebbiolo (Barolo and Barbaresco) or some Tannat wines, whose tannins are so hard and unyielding to start with that they need decades to become approachable but then can rate among the world’s best wines. There’s truth in the old adage: good things are worth waiting for.
Tasting notes: Gillmore Hacedor de Mundos Mezcla de Tintos Old Vines 2011, 14.8% ABV
This wine is a medium ruby colour and has a medium, very complex, layered nose. The first layer comprises notes from the bottle-ageing, such as leather, coffee, chocolate and, later on, a liquorice note emerges. Next are the fruit aromas: blueberries, cranberries and blackcurrants. These aromas are beginning to fade and take on an almost dry fruit quality. The third layer are the pyrazines – those special herbaceous notes common to all the Bordeaux wine varieties (think green bell and chilli peppers) – in this case the pyrazines show as subtle notes of bay leaf and menthol. Finally there is a touch of soft, sweet spice from the oak-ageing.
In the mouth, this is a dry wine with medium body, high acidity and pronounced, grippy tannins. The alcohol level is very high at 14.8% ABV. The complexity comes through in the mouth with those fruit notes intermingled with the hints of leather and coffee and baking spices. Relatively long finish.
A very enjoyable wine that you can enjoy now or even allow to age for another year or two.
The grapes for this wine come from 50-year-old vines. They were fermented in stainless steel with three daily pump-overs and then the wine underwent a post-fermentative maceration. The pump-overs and additional maceration will have boosted the wine’s colour and ensured the maximum tannins and aromas were extracted from the skins. The wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, 20% new, giving it its smooth, velvety mouthfeel and adding the notes of sweet spice.
This wine will pair well with red meat or well-flavoured vegetarian dishes. Check it out with steak or a vegetable goulash.