Friday, July 2, 2010

Santa Rita Floresta

I have always had a bit of a problem with brand new Chilean wineries launching "super-premium" wines. These are new estates, usually financed with money from the US or elsewhere, making wine by numbers and charging a fortune. Low yield Cabernet, lots of new oak, heavy bottle and a fancy label - hey presto - a super-premium, that'll be €50, thanks. No thanks, if I want to spend €50, you can get a bloody good bottle from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, Spain - even Australia - wines that have a lot more heritage behind them, hundreds of years in some cases and at that level, I still believe France delivers real value.

OK, if I had a tenner and the choice was between a juicy, fruity Chilean or a limp, insipid and austere Bordeaux, I know wher my money is better spent. But at €50? Not convinced....


Anyway, Santa Rita Floresta doesn't really fall into the bling category. It is a winery that has heritage to spare, this particular wine comes from 60 yo vines, naturally low-yielding. It normally retails at €35, but a recent Twitter tip-off led me to Superquinn where they were selling the 2002 Floresta for a tenner. We had it last night. It has everything you would expect of a top-end Chilean - rich, full-bodied with blackcurrant fruit jumping out the the glass. Good fruit concentration, good length - Pam thought the alcohol (14%) stood out a bit - I thought it was ok (she tends to be a bit more sensitive to that sort of thing). Normally, when we are drinking something at this level, the bottle tends to empty alarmingly quickly, but we didn't quite finish it.

All in all, I think that this is a serious, well-made wine to be taken on its own merits. It compares favourably with other examples at this level from Australia, US, Argentina etc. However, I still don't think I would pay €35. If it was €20, it would represent real value and would be a compulsive offering. At a tenner, it is amazing. At €35 though, I am still looking at Gevrey Chambertin, Margaux, Barolo, Amarone......

2 comments:

willie said...

Dang! I missed it in Superquinn. Are they getting any more in (at that price)?

Gabriel Cooney said...

They didn't have much - worth trying though...