Tag Archives: Chile

Famiglia Meschini Carmenere

Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Zipp’s Liquors, South Lyndale Liquors, Swirl My Wine, France 44, Apple Valley Liquor, Century Wines and Spirits, Tonka Bottle, The Wine Shop, Liquor Barrel Golden Valley, Richfield Liquor Store No. 1

Grapes: 90% Carmenere, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile

Vintage: 2010

Famiglia Meschini Carmenere adorned with dribbled wine stain

I waxed poetic about Famiglia Meschini’s Pinot Noir last week. Now, let’s get a little dirtier, wait, I mean “earthier” and drink some Carmenere. I first tried this wine at the now defunct Babalu Restaurant [now Bar La Grassa]. I really liked it. Since then, I haven’t been wowed by Carmenere. It always seemed to be too high in alcohol with harshly gritty spice. Would I ever find a good Carmenere for under $20 that didn’t taste of cheap vodka and mudpie?

The FM Carmenere hails from Colchagua Valley, about 500 ft above sea level, in the Central Valley. This valley is where most of the award winning Chilean wines are coming from. Vines grow in a mix of soil, sand and granite. The typical hot daylight temperatures are yielding full bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and Carmenere.

I fell in love with this wine upon first sip. What makes this Carmenere stand out is the 10% Cabernet, which for my palate, balances the wine. It’s medium bodied with dark, smokey fruit flavors, followed by chocolate undertones and fresh cracked pepper- all of which scream “FALL WINE”! The tasting notes state the wine is aged in American oak that is 50% new and 50% used. The newer oak helps give wine that smoky, toasty flavor. If this is something you enjoy, start looking for labels that say “aged in new oak”. Clever.

I’m deeming this my Autumnal wine. (One cannot say that word enough, IMHO!) As the days continue to shorten and the cooler breezes start to invade, this wine will become your best friend. Grill up flank steak and make tacos- this Carmenere would pair beautifully.  Then, keep that fire stoked- s’mores with dark chocolate would be sooo stupid good with this wine. Or, simply pour a big ol’ glass, snuggle up in a blanket with your dog/cat/child/”Rabbit” (ahem), and sip as you watch the leaves gently fall to the ground. You know how I’ll be spending my Autumnal (yes!) weekends.

If you’re interested in sampling this wine (and other Savvy faves), you’re in luck! I’ll be at Zipp’s Liquors on Sat., Sept. 15 from 4-7pm. C’mon down to say hello (and/or “Autumnal”), and meet their wine buyer, Jeff. This is a great, easy-going environment to sip, sample and hang. Should you want to buy a bottle or two (or nine), you’re in luck: Zipp’s will have special sale prices during the tasting!

Famiglia Meschini Pinot Noir

Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Zipp’s Liquors, South Lyndale Liquors, Swirl My Wine, France 44, Apple Valley Liquor, Century Wines and Spirits, Tonka Bottle, The Wine Shop, Liquor Barrel Golden Valley, Richfield Liquor Store #1

Grapes: Pinot Noir

Region: Casablanca Valley, Chile

Vintage: 2010

Famiglia Meschini Pinot Noir

You know, “they” say most folks gain weight during the Summer months. “Pshaw”, I thought, “impossible”. Nope. As evident by my 8 or 9 pound Summer weight gain, it’s all too real. I know, I know, drinking hooch most every night doesn’t help the ol’ tummy. Not to mention, I should look at buying stock in the natural liver cleanser, milk thistle. At least I’m destroying my liver and cortisol-laden abs in the name of entertainment and education.

Oh, but this Summer was not all doom and gloom.

Earlier this Summer, I was fortunate to be able to taste a smattering of the new-to-market wines from Famiglia Meschini. True to The Savvy Lush form, I don’t remember sampling them all per se. Thankfully, I did keep my notes, and found a common theme: “can’t wait for them to hit stores”. I’ve written reviews of Famiglia Meschini’s Torrontes http://bit.ly/KQ9Kss/FM Wines Torrontes The Savvy Lush Review and Cabernet Sauvignon.http://bit.ly/U0tfNd/FM Wines Cabernet Reserva The Savvy Lush Review I’ve raved about their Unoaked Chardonnay and Malbec-Syrah.(So has Bill Ward but how many links can I put in this review? Do check out his blog, Decant This) FM Wines have headed West from their native Argentina for Chile to find land and vineyards to produce a couple new wines adding to their repertoire; a Pinot Noir and Carmenere. Bienvenido Chile, ‘cause this stuff has got it going on.

Let’s dive into the Pinot Noir. It hails from Chile’s Casablanca Valley near the Pacific Ocean coast. What does coastal weather have to do with good wine production? A couple things. First, Pinot Noir grapes benefit from cooler, milder climate-hence you see several Pinots from Oregon & Washington. Second, they have thin skin and thus are more susceptible to their surroundings. Coastal weather provides a more balanced climate, the weather these grapes crave for success. Extreme temperatures + harsh sunlight = yucky Pinot Noir. You are going to start seeing more budget Pinot Noir from Chile. I’ve sampled a few and they don’t truly taste like Pinot Noir to me, but are more concentrated, heavier. For my palette, I like Pinot Noir from Oregon. That said, I dare you to find a decent, budget-conscious Oregon Pinot.

The FM Pinot Noir is the smoothest Pinot I’ve had from Chile. It’s an agreeable wine that is fruit forward in the way of stewed cherries and raspberries. A tad dry on the palette, this will taste great alone or with a salad and prosciutto, perhaps a carnitas tostada, or pork chops. In fact, I think this could make for a great Thanksgiving wine with your turkey dinner. The stewed red fruit will compliment the roast turkey, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings. How’s that? One less source of stress for this year’s meal- your wine is now chosen.

I’m so excited about the news wines Famiglia Meschini are rolling! Excited is putting it mildly- downright giddy is more like it. If you are at all interested in sampling one of these wines, you’re in luck! I’ll be at Zipp’s Liquors on Sat., Sept. 15 from 4-7pm. C’mon down to say hello, and meet their wine buyer, Jeff (of Wine Geek TV fame http://www.winegeektv.com/Wine Geek TV ). This is a great environment to sip, sample and hang. If you want to buy a bottle or two, feel free as we’ll have special sale prices during the 3 hours.

Anakena Sauvignon Blanc

Cost: Average price $7

Where buy now: Marshall Liquor, St. Paul

Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Chile

Vintage: 2011

Anakena Sauvignon Blanc

There’s nothing sexier than drinking in a casino hotel room.

Let me introduce you to Anakena Sauvignon Blanc. If you are a grapefruit fan, this is your Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a flaxen yellow wine that is light, crisp, and a righteous deal at only $6.99! This is dictionary definition weeknight patio wine, but is also a swell antidote for sweltering Saturday nights.

I was sans patio, but as you can see from the photo, I enjoyed it sitting in a hotel room that “reminisced” of a smoking room (read: stale ex-smoking = inside stank). Maybe it was because I had spent 16 hours outside in the menacing sun and dusty winds of Grand Casino Hinckley [another glamorous episode for my day job] , but this wine went down fast and easy. My co-worker and I sucked the bottle down with authority (and some Stacy’s pita chips), bringing a tired smile to both our faces as we picked at the annoying dirt caked in various body crevices. We found our nirvana, if only for a moment.

We awoke at 4am the next day to get up and do it all over again. I cannot help but think that the Anakena made it just a bit more bearable.