Chilean wine has never let me down before. This one, by South America’s largest wine producer Concha y Toro, is from the Limari Valley, a hot and dry region 200 miles north of Santiago. Concha y Toro make a lot of what I’d call “generic minimart wines”, which I’d generally avoid in favour of smaller producers, but this one’s price point and positive reviews gave me the confidence to part with my cash. For £8, you can get a really good Chilean Chardonnay, so for £13 (reduced to a tenner in this case) I was expecting a lot.
But my gratification was delayed because, the first time in years, I couldn’t get the cork out. It was a real bitch. I’m sure there’s a metaphor for life in here somewhere, but I can’t quite pin it down.
Anyway, after an epic tug of war, and some even more epic swearing, I managed it. And from two feet away I could smell that it’d been on the lees. It was extremely yeasty, which wasn’t what I expected at all. But then that’s the beauty of Chardonnay, it can be so many different things. The next aspect I noticed was the oak — strong, leathery, with nutty vanilla. I like big-bodied wines, so my expectations were further raised. But on the tongue it was bitter and astringent, with notes of… paracetamol. Oh dear. Usually the paracetamol doesn’t arrive until the next morning.
What a shame. Chilean wine had never let me down before… but there’s a first time for everything.
3.5 NINJA STARS
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, from Tesco, 2015. 14% vol. £10, reduced from £13.