2013 Santa Carolina Reserva Familia Cabernet Sauvignon
We tend to think of Chile as a New World wine country but in fact, its winemaking history is longer than many Napa Valley wineries, Italian Super Tuscans and even Bordeaux chateaux. And here, at Santa Carolina, is one of Chile’s longest-lasting overperformers.
Founding the winery in 1875, Luis Pereyra Cotapos, named the winery after his wife, Carolina Iniguez. Luis must have been a romantic, but also a strong-willed man, with many resources not to diminish his wife’s fair name with unexceptional wine. To that end, he imported a French winemaker and began crafting Bordeaux-styled blends. In 1889, he was rewarded with international recognition at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, France.
Luis’ family today continues to strive for quality and innovation. In 1963, they were one of the first to plant “new” varieties into the region, e.g., transitioning from nearly all Cermenere to Cabernet, making these Cabernet vines some of the oldest in Chile. Then in 2015—with their blockbuster 2013 Cabernet vintage and celebrating 140 years of wine production—they were awarded Winery of the Year by the United States’ Wine Enthusiast magazine. And with good reason. What a heck of a wine this is:
The nose opens with an expression of ripe cherries intermixed blackberry liquor, notes of verdure, and savory herbal tones. The palate is ripe enough to cocktail with its supple and silky fruit flavors, but also remains fresh and balanced, mixing the classical flavors of Cabernet with notes of Chile – ripe plum, currants and spice. This flagship of a wine is befitting to be named after the founder’s wife. But even further, it’s befitting of any lover of great Cabernet.
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