A Chilean Tribute to the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Vancouver International Wine FestivalAlthough we cannot celebrate the Vancouver International Wine Festival together this year, I have some wines from Chile and Argentina that I would like to taste and share my tasting notes with you. This year the theme region was South America, so we would have been tasting wines from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brasil.

I purchased these two Chilean wines from Everything Wine to start my virtual celebration. The first is Viña Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and the second is Viñedos Emiliana Organic Vineyards COYAM 2018. I picked these two wines as they both contain Cabernet Sauvignon. The Santa Rita is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the COYAM is a Syrah dominant blend with lesser Cabernet Sauvignon.  I also chose to highlight Cabernet Sauvignon as it is known as the King of the red grapes in Chile. 

My Wine Tasting Notes

Viña Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Syrah, and 2% Petit Verdot. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels.  The winemaker is Sebastián Labbé, who previously was winemaker at Viña Carmen, where he made some exceptionally tasty wines that I have written about before, and had a chance to speak with him when he was in Canada for a previous festival.

Appearance: Has a deep, approximately 90% opaque, garnet colour.
Nose: A medium intensity nose showing mainly deep dark ripe fruits, along with light touches of toast, oak, sweet spice, and black pepper. It is more aromatic with decanting.  Lots of smoky, meaty, and dark fruit aromas, with lesser tar, black pepper, sweet spice and oak.
Palate: Dry with medium-plus body, gets rounder with some air. Fine tannins. Tarry, black fruit, and blackberry flavours. A touch of minerality from mid palate to finish. You get dark chocolate and a touch of coffee with swirling. It is more fruity with decanting, but still restrained fruit.  A bit fuller bodied, round, with light pepperiness and coffee flavours, along with raspberries and red cherry flavours, and less tarriness.
Finish: A medium plus length finishing with tarriness, dark fruit and black berries, fine supple tannins, and light pepperiness. The tarriness lessens with decanting, you get more ripe black fruit and raspberry flavours.  A very structured wine; more Old World style.

Decanting is a bit better, giving you a bit more fruit, and less of the tarriness on the palate.  Uses an agglomerate cork, and I think with this quality, a solid cork would be nicer.

Rating: 4.5 stars a wine with deep dark fruit flavours, some tarriness, smokiness and sweet spices on the nose and palate.  Intense black fruit and blackberry flavours, but not overly fruity.  Enjoyable coffee and some raspberries and red cherries added on the palate with decanting.

Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Vinedos Emiliana Organic Vineyards COYAM 2018 with wines in glasses
Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Vinedos Emiliana Organic Vineyards COYAM 2018 with wines in glasses

Viñedos Emiliana Organic Vineyards COYAM 2018

A blend of 42% Syrah, 39% Carmenere, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Garnacha, 3% Malbec, 3% Carignan, 1% Tempranillo, and 1% Mourvedre.  This wine underwent full malolactic fermentation and then 75% of the wine was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels and 5% in egg-shaped concrete tanks. It is also vegan, organic, and biodynamic. The grapes come from the Colchagua Valley, which is a premium location for grapes in Chile, located approxiately 150km south of Santiago.  A few other top quality wineries in the Colchagua Valley are Casa Lapostolle, Viña MontGras, and Viña Montes. COYAM is a Mapuche indigenous tribe term meaning “oak”, although you will see that the oak is light and well-integrated in this wine.

Appearance: Opaque ruby purple colour in the glass, coating it with swirling.
Nose: An enticing fruit-forward, New World style nose. A mix of cinnamon and nutmeg spices, sweet ripe black fruit, plums, and a touch of cedar. With decanting the cedar aroma is stronger, you can add vanilla, and lessen the cinnamon and nutmeg spices, but still a very nice nose.
Palate: Slightly off-dry, medium bodied, round, and silky smooth. Plush, ripe fruit flavours. A mix of red and black fruits, ripe raspberries, blackberries, and touches of capsicum, cedar, and sweet spices. Add blueberries with decanting and drop the capsicum. Also boost the cedar component.  
Finish: A medium plus length finishing with ripe black fruit, some pepperiness, cinnamon and light supple tannins. The tannins are a bit stronger on the finish with decanting, but still light.  You also get blueberry flavours on the finish, while the cinnamon disappears.

A delicious, New World style, fruit-forward wine. No need to decant, but no rush to finish in one sitting. One thing I noticed that could be improved is to use a lighter bottle.  This one has very thick glass and is quite heavy.  With global warming and the costs of shipping, I think going to a lighter glass bottle would be a very good idea.

Rating: 4.5 stars A delicious fruit-forward wine with enticing sweet spices and ripe black fruit aromas.  Medium bodied, slightly off-dry with a soft mouthfeel. A mix of red and black fruit flavours, including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Stronger cedar flavour with decanting.

The Reason for the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Bard on the Beach
Bard on the Beach

We all enjoy the wines at the Festival, but there is a reason for the Festival.  It is to raise funds to support the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. This Festival is held at Vanier Park in the summer and shows up to 4 different plays. The 2019 Festival offered The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare in Love, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Coriolanus.  The status of the 2021 Festival is not 100% certain.  Let us hope that some version of the Festival can commence this summer.  You can donate to Bard on the Beach through this link.

Where Can I Buy These Wines?

I purchased these wines from the Everything Wine store in North Vancouver.  COYAM is available at BC Liquor stores.  They may be available at other private wine shops, but you need to ask.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.