Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a Chilean red with POISE AND FINESSE as her bottle of the week …
Viu Manent Vibo Viñedo Centenario, Colghagua Valley 2014
Chile is Ireland’s most popular wine-producing country with a market share of around 25%. Its remarkable success here is built on inexpensive wines that sell in massive quantities, especially in supermarkets. They’re grand but not great – giving Chilean wine a rather banal image. That isn’t quite fair because, higher up the price scale, Chile can produce some cracking wines – like this.
Made from the extra-flavoursome fruit of vines planted over a century ago, it has the pure, juicy flavours of a compote of red and black berries underpinned by the firmness that comes from fine, suede-like tannins. What I love about it is that, unlike some high-end red wines from warm parts of the world, it’s not too sweet, nor too alcoholic, nor overly oaked. Instead you’ll admire its poise and finesse.
Produced by Viu Manent, an 80-year-old family company which was named Winery of the Year 2017 by Wines of Chile, Vibo is roughly two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one third Malbec, matured in French oak barrels for around 16 months. It was my favourite red among the 60 middle-to-upper-priced wines tasted at the Embassy of Chile in Dublin in November.
This would be the perfect bottle to put on the table with a simple roast – something most households will probably enjoy for another couple of months until winter finally shuffles off. Roast beef, roast pork, roast vegetables… any of these will make it shine. If you happen to be one of Ireland’s growing band of vegans, you’ll be interested to know that it is also vegan-friendly – not the case with all wines as egg white and gelatine are often used as fining agents.
From Lilac Wines, Dublin 3; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4; Drinkstore, Dublin 7; Higgins, Dublin 14; Bradys, Shankill; Mortons, Salthill; 1601, Kinsale; World Wide Wines, Waterford, €23-25.
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