20 barrels, eh?
I feel pretty privileged!
Although, the bottle also says “No 008385” on it. So how bloody big are these barrels? Assuming this was the last bottle to be bottled from said 20 barrels, that would mean each one contained 314 litres. That sounds like a lot, but I guess in wine terms it makes for a plausible-sounding barrel size.
But it’s those two zeroes at the start that really raise an eyebrow. For them to serve any purpose, there must be a limited run of at least 100,000 bottles. That’s 3750-litre barrels. I fear such barrels. What would they look like? Surely they could crush a man. Or a pig. Or a herd of alpaca.
Okay, I’ll have to get over the barrels (although I may need a helicopter to do so), because in all likelihood that sub-brand of the wonderful Cono Sur‘s Chilean wine empire isn’t to be taken as literally as it was when it was born. And the little paper packet and textured label are all the evidence I require that I’ve been rewarded sufficiently for shelling out that bit more than I normally would for a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
Well, not quite; of course I’m hoping to enjoy the contents of the bottle too. But for me, there’s no real risk factor in purchasing from Cono Sur, as I’ve never had what I considered to be a bad – or even an average – bottle of wine from them. More than any other large-scale producer, I’d say their name guarantees a level of quality and a value for money that I’m confident in recommending to others.
And this premium Sauvignon Blanc (winner of a Quality award at the 2011 IWSC trophy) was no different.
A light and ultra-pale hue in the glass gave out some wonderful fruit aromas: melon, grapefruit and lemon peel all clearly defined. But this was only a hint of the pleasing depth of character to be found in the glass.
I’ve recently begun to feel I could probably place a Sauvignon Blanc as Chilean, having had a fair few now and having noticed a certain balance between the moderate acidity and the New World fruitiness. They’re a bit less extreme than New Zealand wines, and barring any annoying complexities like throwing in an Argentine or South African wine, I reckon I’d be able to place most typical Chilean SBs in the right country – although I couldn’t be any more specific than that (and probably never will attain such heights of sommelieriness).
But this wine was a bit different; there were discernibly mineralic hints working as an undercurrent to the tangy grapefruit flavours, and a savoury hint of brie-like yeastiness. I’d almost definitely have insisted it was French – although not Sancerre, which is probably the only French AOC using this grape with which I have a passing familiarity.
I’d have been wrong, anyway. And that I’d have thought I was paying a compliment to a Chilean wine by thinking it French probably says more about my own prejudices than it does about any overriding truth of viticulture.
The slightly higher price point that made me feel so very daring in the supermarket really puts this wine into perspective, especially when compared with some of the decidedly underwhelming Sancerres I’ve had for the same price – or indeed a considerably greater price – this summer.
I believe it was in the region of £14, but you can find out for yourself in your local Tesco – if its one of the big ones. Certainly anything up to about £20 won’t feel like a lot to pay for such a wine. And you could expect to pay a lot more for it if it was French.