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by Fred McMillin
for May 26, 2000

 

Winery of the Week
Get to Know
Koo-Reh-Koh


Prologue

Montes Winery  
"Chile is smoking hot at Vinexpo, the biggest wine show in the world—by miles. California makes five bottles of wine for every one from Chile, yet Chile exports more wine than the Golden State."

...Bob Thompson, San Francisco Examiner

In 1986 we wrote that "stainless steel and new oak are beyond the reach of most Chilean bodegas." By 1990 things were changing rapidly...with a number of new wineries 80 miles south of Santiago around Curico [koo-reh-koh]...Capitalizing on Chile's "matchless fruit," one of the country's best Cabernets is from Curico by Montes.

...Hugh Johnson, World Atlas of Wine, 4th Ed.


The Rest of the Story

Montes. What's Montes? Aurelio Montes is one of Chile's foremost winemakers. He and his North American partner, Douglas Murray, launched the Montes Winery a little over a decade ago. The Wine Spectator has said Aurelio is "leading the charge" to higher quality wines, calling one of his reds a "blockbuster."

So we're talking about the hottest wine exporting country (Chile), its hot-button district of Curico, and a veteran winemaker that can produce "blockbusters." Best of all, for only $10 you can try a Montes Curico Chardonnay, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Let's check 'em out.

Chardonnay—1998
My panel liked the "apple, pear, good acid, good balance." The Wine X Magazine gave it two xxs...apples and gunpowder...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Merlot—1998
The Merlot didn't score as well as the Chardonnay with my panel. However, the Wine Spectator called the $10 '97 a "GREAT RED WINE VALUE."
Cabernet Sauvignon—1997
The above red Montes blockbuster was a Cab,... but a $54 Cab... "elegant, polished, etc." Now, the $10 model doesn't have that much charm, but my panel rated it the highest of the three varietals.


Conclusion

If you drink $10 wines, try these three, and try other varietals and vintages as they are released. This is a winery on its way up...Montes.


Postscript

We mentioned the Wine X Magazine. I like their succint description of Chile. "A maritime ribbon— a sliver of land 2,700 miles long yet no broader than 150 miles, cleft by Andean river valleys. It's bordered by the Atacama Desert on the north and the ice fields of Patagonia on the south."

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created May 2000

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