Continuing our tour of wines from the Southern Hemisphere, today we are tasting the 2008 Unfiltered Malbec from Loma Larga Vineyards. Generally we associate Malbec with Argentina, however this Malbec is from Chile.
Background: A long history of wine production
Wine production in Chile started in the mid-16th century with vines carried by Spanish explorers, missionaries, and settlers. Most of the early wine production was conducted by missionaries for religious consumption but by the end of the 16th century the fledgling wine business expanded its use of the “common black grape” to produce sweet wines for export and general consumption. This sweet wine production continued through most of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
The influence of French wine making was strong and French vines were introduced into Chile by wealthy landowners in the late 18th century. Not only did the introduction of French varietals expand the types of wines produced, but it incorporated French wine making techniques into the process. With an expanding production base Chile increased its exports of wine and became the 3rd largest wine exporter to the United States behind France and Italy by late 20th century. Today Chile ranks 4th in exports to the United States.
The winery: Loma Larga Vineyards
After researching the feasibility of producing limited quantity premium wines in Chile, the Diaz family started Loma Larga Vineyards with the 1st vintage being 2004. With an intense focus on quality, consistent production, and the most sophisticated wine making techniques, Loma Larga Vineyards is producing limited quantity high quality wines for export.
On our 1st pour we were immediately drawn to the color of the wine. A deep, dark, inky purple tone, the wine visually exuded a richness which was backed by the taste. Flavorful, visually appealing, the wine presented a richness and character which we expected to pair well with the grilled porterhouse we were planning to prepare.
On our 2nd pouring we were matching the grilled porterhouse, oven roasted herbed potatoes, and an arugula salad with the wine. A perfect pairing. The wine has a big mouth feel which stood up to the grilled beef and was moderated some by the potatoes. A very nice combination. Once again, we were quite impressed with the character of the wine and the “long legs” which were demonstrated when the wine was swirled in our glass. This is a wine which can be cellared for 3-5 years and certainly meant to be paired with food.
Where to buy the wine:
A special thank you to the folks at GOS Wines for their support in providing information and the wine.
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