Disclaimer: Both wines were provided as media samples by Wine Chateau. Opinions expressed are my own.
With the weather still being pretty splendid, but the evenings cooling down I have been digging more in my modest cellar. While a lot of the wines are white, there is a decent amount of reds by now, so I had the good fortune of pulling these two out this week.
We first had the 2010 Lapostolle Canto de Apalta, a Chilean mix of 36% Carmenère, 31% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah from Rapel Valley. According to the label, Lapostolle Winery was founded by a member of the family that has been producing the liqueur Grand Marnier for over six generations in 1994. The female winemaker, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, reportedly created this blend by selecting different lots from the estate’s 370 hectares. In total, the winery produces around 2.4 million bottles. According to the website, 2010 seems to have been a rough year for Chile winemakers: a cooler and drier fall/winter 2009 with delayed bud break and persisting low temperatures. Throw in a major earthquake and everyone had their hands full. The wine has 14.1% ABV.
The wine showed itself in a deeper purplish red with a soft rim. It flowed noticeably heavy in the glass. I thought the nose was pretty, with jammy raspberries, branches, some maltiness and wet leaves. Yet, it also showed a decidedly perfumy nose with healthy acidic aromas. Nina thought the nose was wonderful. On the palate, the wine was way less acidic than anticipated from the nose. It had a light to medium body and a decent balance. The beginning and middle section seemed a bit too fruit-less for my taste, but there were hints of spice, pepper and a branchy finish. After a while, there appeared leather aromas, too. All in all a decent red wine. Not the most interesting or complex in my book, but definitely worth a try.
Wednesday night, we opened the 2006 Bennett Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon The Reserve. According to the label, the wine is produced by William Grant and Sons, a family of distillers. It has 14.5% ABV. The winery website provides a sheet for the 2005 vintage, according to which the vines are 15 years old and the wine spent 18 months in French oak, 60% of which were new. But to the wine:
In the glass, it poured in a dark crimson red. The nose was delicious, with blackberry and raspberry aromas, some balsamic and pepper. It also had a jamminess to it which I liked. On the palate, excellent mouth-feel with just the right amount of chewiness. Herbal and spice box aromas, a very well integrated acidity and good tannins. I thought this had a very good balance and depth. There were wood aromas and slight pepper towards the medium long finish. After a while, I got cocoa and bitter chocolate aromas as well as fennel and anis seed. Both Nina and I really liked this wine. You might know that I am not a big fan of single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, but this one worked very well for me. It had depth and good flavors that kept bringing me back.
In my book, the Bennett Family was the clear winner between these two, especially given that they come pretty much at the same price point…
Both wines are available for around $20, for example from Wine Chateau: