Chile’s Maipo Valley close to the national capital produces some of that country’s best Cabernet Sauvignons. Nativa Eco Wines started in 1995. Four years later they made Chile’s first wine elaborated with certified organic grapes. Nativa has more than 300 hectares (750 acres) devoted to organic grapes. Its website offers a technical worksheet of this wine, but for the previous vintage. Winemaker Felipe Ramirez studied in Chile and Montpelier, France. The companion wine is a sweet blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and a local red from Lazio (Latium), Italy coming in at less than half the price.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Nativa Single Vineyard Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 14 % alcohol about $20
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Description: Free sulphur: 6 mg/L. Tasting Note: … Quite deep ruby in color with a very pronounced Cabernet Sauvignon nose of cassis, eucalypt, olive, dusty earth, clove, orange zest, and graphite. The palate is dry and full, with lots of acid and tannin structure and great intensity. Flavors of eucalypt, spice, coffee, graphite, minerals, raspberry, olive, and the garrigue. Very long and complex with potential to develop for many years in bottle. Just completely eats up the 100% new oak and is a true reflection of the Maipo Alto terroir. Score – 92. (Rhys Pender, Master of Wine, at his website, December 10, 2010)” And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine was very long, offering cassis and light acidity. The meal started with home barbecued chicken wings marinated in commercially prepared duck sauce enhanced with ground chilies. This wine did a great job of cutting the grease. The main dish was a home barbecued rib eye steak marinated in ketchup, ginger, and fresh garlic. The Cab was dark and round with balanced acidity, tasting of cassis and chocolate. The side dish of roasted eggplant brimming with garlic rendered this libation sweet. Fruit juice candy dessert took away its wine’s fruit but the wine offered good acidity.
My next meal started with Japanese Wasabi crackers. In response the wine with long with mixed fruits, dark fruits. The centerpiece was a boxed eggplant parmigiana doused with grated Parmesan cheese. The wine’s acidity was slightly harsh and its fruit was cut but the oak was fine, and I’m not a big fan of oak. Dessert consisted of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Macadamia Ice Cream. The Cab was muted but still provided some darkness.
My final meal consisted of a barbecued veal rib chop that had been marinated in the same sauce. In response the wine provided a fine balance among fruit, tannins, and acidity. It offered chocolate and was quite long and very pleasant. A microwaved redskin potato sharpened the drink’s acidity. Interestingly enough when I tried more of that roasted eggplant brimming with garlic the wine lost some of its fruit while retaining its length.
The first cheese was a provolone. Now the wine was grapey showing some tobacco. When paired with a goat’s milk cheese containing figs its acidity intensified.
Final verdict. I think that I would buy this wine again. Some of its pairings were quite good. And I had the idea that I was dealing with a fairly sophisticated product.Access the companion wine A Wine Lover's Weekly Review of $10 Wines - A Sweet Italian Red Blend
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com
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