This is a new wine to me. I am usually quite familiar with the wines of Chile. Cigar Box Pinot Noir comes from the cooler Casablanca Valley, made by the Sur Andino winery. The Casablanca Valley is located 75 km northwest of Santiago, Chile and is approximately at 33 degrees south latitude, which if it was in the northern hemisphere would be located around the Temecula Valley near San Diego. At these latitudes, the sun would be high in the sky and provide lots of heat for grapes to grow ripe. In comparison, BC’s south Okanagan Valley, our hottest grape-growing region, is 49 degrees north latitude. The Casablanca Valley does benefit from the cooling effects of the cool Pacific Ocean as the Valley gets morning fog, similar to Sonoma Valley in California. The further inland and higher in elevation, the less the effect of the Pacific Ocean in the Casablanca Valley. From my research, Pinot Noir is the most widely planted red grape in this valley. As I taste this wine, I can still feel the effects of the warmer climate compared to cooler Pinot Noir wine growing regions, giving you a fuller-bodied, more dark-fruited wine. Let me tell you about it.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Cigar Box Old Vine Pinot Noir 2022 (BC $16.99 BC Select)
Appearance: A deep, clear garnet colour; about 85% opaque.
Nose: Medium-intensity aromas. It is quite smoky (thus the name of the wine), along with tea leaves, dark fruit, and a touch of ganja. The aromas increase to medium-plus with decanting.
Palate: This wine is off-dry, medium-plus body, round and mouth-filling. Ripe black fruits, black plums, tarriness along with some candied red fruit and floral after swirling. This wine has lighter chalky tannins and light acidity. About the same flavours, but the wine tastes a bit drier and I now pick up cigar box flavour.
Finish: A medium-plus length finishing off-dry. A mix of sweet and tart black fruit, some bitterness, light chalky tannins, and medium acidity. A drier finish and add smoky cigar box flavours with decanting.
The decanted wine is drier and you have more cigar box character. The undecanted wine is a bit sweeter on the palate. So it is your preference on the level of dryness if you decide to decant this wine.
Rating: An off-dry Pinot Noir with a deeper dark fruit character. Smokiness, tea leaves and dark fruit on the nose and palate. Lighter acidity and tannins. A medium-plus length.