2016 Santa Carolina Cabernet Reserva Familia
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 over performers.
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 — they were awarded Winery of the Year by the United States’ Wine Enthusiast magazine (and again in 2019 by Tim Atkin of Wine & Spirits 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, and notes of 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.
“Mostly sourced from the same vineyard as Carolina’s icon red, Luis Pereira, this is a cuvee of Cabernet Sauvignon with 3% Merlot from Cachapoal. Elegant, focused and refined, it has stylish oak, bright cassis and lead pencil notes and graceful, textured tannins. 2020-31. Tim Atkin 2019 Chile Report Wine of the Year”. – Wine & Spirits