European influence has always been a presence in the American wine trade. Up north the effect is more historic, but there are a few winemakers like Philippe Melka  still kicking about, making awesome wines.

In South America, it’s a much more palpable influence. The last two decades have seen a great influx of European winemakers.  From Didier Cuvelier of  Chateau Léoville-Poyferré  to the Italian Count Francesco Marone Cinzano of Col d’Orcia estate in Montalcino.

While Didier went to Argentina, the good Count Cinzano went  to Chile. Interestingly, both were determined to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau Léoville-Poyferré  is well known for it’s Cabernet-based wines, so that makes sense. Col d’Orcia  is famous for it’s Brunello di Montalcino, which is definitely not Cabernet.

The winery has been growing Cabernet for it’s Super Tuscan bottles for several decades, including the Olmaia Sant’Antimo and the Nearco Sant’Antimo Rosso.

The location the Count opted for in Chile is very similar climate to that of Tuscany: a region of rolling gentle hills that enjoys a dry mediterranean climate with just enough rain to allow for dry farming on alluvial terraces. It’s a small region in the  Maule Valley called Riserva di Caliboro. Most of the vines planted are now more than 15  years old.

South American Wine Review

Erasmo 2009 Red, Maule Valley

Wine Review: Erasmo 2009 Red

Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a percentage of Syrah. The Cabernet  is clearly dominant here, with aromas of graphite and cedar rising above wild flower and toasted spice. Black fruit and lusciously ripe plums ride across the deep tannins that smoothly fold into butcher shop elements. Vanilla and pomegranate come forward in the finish  which  jumps into a  slam dunk of tannin.

This bottling is a constituent “Best Buy” vintage after vintage. A very good Cabernet-based wine and very attractively priced.

Wine Rating: 90 Points