Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wine Review: Ventisquero "Grey" Glacier 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

Ventisquero "Grey" Glacier 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

For the last decade or so the general rule of Chilean wine was that you can double the price of a bottle and that's what wine of the same quality would cost coming from one of those classy California appellations. For the most part that theory is still going strong, although it's no longer a guarantee.

There is no doubt in my mind that Chile is absolutely the top producer of quality Cabernet Sauvignon for your money. It's very similar to the style and quality of the Cab's from Napa Valley; lots of currant, big and bold and mouth-drying. Only they're, you guessed it, much less expensive.

Grey Glacier Cabernet is the second wine I'm reviewing from Ventisquero. The first was their Carménère, which I really enjoyed. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to like their Cabernet even more.

Jack Nicholson in the Shining
PICTURED: ME
It's a perfect time to be reviewing this wine because Cape Cod could be mistaken as a glacier right now, even more so than when I reviewed the Carménère just the other day. I'm writing this on a Monday night during a blizzard that's been going since 7am and won't be letting up until tomorrow morning. And then it'll keep snowing until sometime Wednesday. Hurray! Kill me!

Chile is really excited about the 2013 vintage because it was one of the coolest years down there in decades and it rarely rained, so it's supposed to be one of the best vintages ever for Chilean wines.

This Cabernet is from the N° 38 block of the La Trinidad vineyard in coastal Maipo Valley. It's 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. It went through low-temperature maceration with its skins for five days before fermentation to really pull out the color, aromas and flavors. The final ABV is 14%.

It's recommended that you let this baby decant for a half an hour before you start drinking. That's probably a good idea but your average wine consumer isn't going to do that because ain't nobody got time. Seriously. So I won't do it either and see how it goes.

I've already talked about the bottle package in the Carménère review. I believe the term I used was "badass". The color of the actual wine is a deep, dark red.

Let me just say that as soon as I took my first whiff my eyes rolled into the back of my head. It's fantastic. Sometimes I forget why Cab is king and need a reminder.

There's an earthiness and barbecue smoke that comes up first on the nose before it goes into black currant, raspberries, tomato and coarse black table pepper. Oh dear lord have mercy on my soul. It's even got that ethanol burn that I love so much. Uuuuuungh.

On the palate it's much softer than I thought it would be. It's big bodied but the tannins are soft and the fruit is more relaxed than oppressive. (Maipo Valley has sandy soil, and if you read Soil and Wine - Part  2: Terroir and Texture last Sunday then you know sandy soil results in softer tannin.) There's flavors of black currants, raspberries and strawberries. It finishes with raspberry in an upswing of acidity rather than a drying out with tannin, but there's still an alcoholic heat.

The Chilean / California formula is correct yet again. I've had $35 to $40 bottles of Cabernet from Napa Valley that were equals to this one, but this'll only cost you $20. So this Cab is definitely worth the money you pay.

I've got to give it a 4.5 out of 5 in price vs quality. The only reason why it doesn't get a perfect score is because most Cabernet consumers want a lot more oomph and power and tannin in the mouth, so the "Cabernet puts hair on your chest" people may feel cheated. But the fact is that upon purchase you're getting a Cab that's among the top-quality within its price range.

Man, it feels like I'm just handing out great ratings this month. It's been an impressive line-up so far.

QUALITY VS PRICE RATING
Price: $20
Rating: 4.5/5 = Recommended / Highly Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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