Concha y Toro, Marchigüe (Colchagua Valley, Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva “Serie Riberas” 2019

($17, Eagle Peak Estates):  The heart of Chile’s Colchagua Valley, one of the prime areas for growing red varieties, lies 30 miles or so inland, east of the Pacific Ocean.  Marchigüe, a lesser-known area with the Colchagua Valley, sits on the cooler coast.  At first glance, it may be odd that a winery would want to plant Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that likes heat, in a cooler area.  After tasting this Cabernet, the conclusion was clear that Concha y Toro, one of Chile’s top producers, knows what it’s doing.  This bottling comes from their Serie Riberas line, which are wines made from grapes grown on riversides, in this case the Tinguiririca River.  Their 2019 Cabernet is exactly what you’d expect from a top producer, such as Concha y Toro.  Classically framed, it delivers both dark, cassis-like fruitiness, accented with wonderful savory, olive-like nuances.  It’s savory, not-just-fruit element is captivating.  Fresh and lively, it finishes with a welcoming hint of bitterness, which makes it perfect for grilled beef.  At a modest (by today’s standards) 13.5 percent stated alcohol shows, once again, that you don’t need super ripe grapes to make a super wine.
93 Michael Apstein Jul 13, 2021