Viña San Pedro, Limited Edition Syrah 2016 - $35
Although considered a ‘New World’ wine producing country, Chile has a long history of growing grapes and making wine dating as far back as the 16th century. However, today’s global recognized grapes didn’t make an appearance in the vineyard until the latter half of the 19th century with what we might consider today as quality wines only emerging another 100 or so years after that. In the late 20th century, Chile has been a reliable source for many wine drinkers of cheep and cheerful quaffers but since the start of the 21st century, more and more Chilean producers have been focusing their efforts on crafting wines that faithfully reflect the many uniquely Chilean terroirs.
Such is the case for the 1865 collection from Viña San Pedro, a name which both captures the history of the winery (its founding year) and speaks to a modern day ethos by showcasing some of Chile’s diverse wine growing regions. The range contains some excellent examples of these – a Sauvignon Blanc from cool, coastal Leyda; a Carménère from Maule and a high elevation Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo. In fact, all of the wines in the collection impress with their expressiveness and sensitive winemaking although my personal highlight (I first tasted it whilst visiting the winery in 2016) is the Limited Edition Syrah from Elqui.
The Elqui Valley is one of Chile’s most northerly and arid regions and what strikes me the most about the Limited Edition Syrah (from a site planted in 1998) is how its hugely expressive personality speaks so concisely to its origin. This wine holds no pretense to being either classically French or alternative Australian and although unmistakably Syrah in essence, oozing aromas of dark berry fruits, white pepper, black olive and subtle meaty notes – it adds a uniquely Chilean verve. Resinous herbs give a light lift to the nose, a subtle dusty clay tone pervades on the palate with an intensity of fruit yet freshness and refinement that even speaks even more precisely to the Elqui Valley. This is certainly a syrah of surprising elegance with a complex character you can lose yourself in or better still, find yourself drinking it. Preferably with some Lebanese lamb kofta or delicious chicken mole Sopitos from Vancouver’s Zócalo. Salud!
Where to Buy
Available at selected Liberty Wine Merchant stores for $35 (approx. pricing)
Mark Shipway, DipWSET