Sunday, February 22, 2009

Discovery of the month: February 2009 Chilean value

2008 Viña Palo Alto Reserve D.O. Maule Valley Chile
Suggested retail price $10-$13
Imported by Royal Imports and distributed by

I tried to get some info but I couldn't find much about this little wine. From a retailer website (no name), I kind of understand (it was a bit confusing...) that it was produced by the same people as Almaviva (understand Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. and Concha y Toro), which somewhat explains the Bordeaux style features of this wine, but their are no indications whatsoever on the label and Palo Alto doesn't have any website (which is also somewhat surprising, if it is produced by two major brands....I need to investigate on this....unless someone will be nice enough to leave a comment if he (or her) knows the answer...)

Curious by nature, I continued to search the web and found out that apparently Palo Alto is a related winery of Concha y Toro (go to and click on "The Company" then on "Related Wineries". Here is what it says about it:

"In 2006, Palo Alto is created to produce a single, innovative wine with the same name, very different from the classic wine lines produced by Concha y Toro. With a strong winemaking basis, Palo Alto is an assemblage or blend made from the best grapes originating in three specific vineyards in the Maule Valley: San Clemente (Cabernet Sauvignon); Villa Allegre (Carmenère); and Pencahue (Syrah). Palo Alto's modern approach breaks away from the more traditional wines of the world. Its vanguard style and attractive packaging identifies with today's wine consumer." (Info taken from

I guess that it gives us a bit more info about the origin of the wine but not really how it was made. So I read the back label to see what they say:

"Palo Alto combines the best grapes from Chile with the time honored tradition of the Old World wine blending. Created by the soil and climate of the Maule River Valley, which sits between the Andes and the Coastal mountain ranges, our wine is a unique of rich Cabernet Sauvignon, peppery Syrah and sensuous Carmenère, Chile's signature grape variety. The ripe berry flavors and elegant oak of Palo Alto create a complex yet balance wine which is deep red in color and rich in aroma and character." (Info taken from the back label of Palo Alto)

The back label completes a bit the lack of info, which allows us to better to understand this little wine. Although, I would have loved to find a bit more info, I guess it is ok for now.

So if I resume, Palo Alto is a related winery of Concha y Toro (one of their many new projects), making a wine of the same name from 3 different grape varieties coming from some of their best vineyards in selected specific locations within the Maule Valley. Their intention is to craft a flavorful, rich and balanced wine, reminiscent of Bordeaux style with the Cabernet Sauvignon, a twist of Chile's "Savoir Faire" with its most recognized grape: Carmenère, lifted up by a little spicy note of Syrah. The resulting wine is aged a bit in barrel to add more structure and texture. Et voila! Palo Alto was born and since its first 2005 vintage, it continues to grow in the mind of the wine buyers like me (although the 2008 vintage is my first taste of it).

2008 Palo Alto Reserve was a surprisingly good discovery for me. The wine isn't the most complex or the best wine that I tasted from Chile, even in this price range, but I found it very interesting and intriguing. The robe is quite dense and dark. The nose is quite ripe with aromas of ripe dark berries, hints of oak and spice. The palate is fairly complex, well balanced with mature dark fruit flavors, nicely integrated notes of oak and leather mixed with hints of earth and spices. Overall, the wine is clean, focus, quite juicy and well structured. I liked it a lot and when I tasted it really stand out from the other 7 or 8 wines (that I just tasted before). It offered more balanced and depth which I found very attractive for the price. It represents another great value from Chile and Bordeaux lovers will surely appreciate its characteristics.
It deserves to be served with a perfectly grilled "entrecôte" (grilled on "vine shoots" also called "Sarments" in French, it is tastier trust my 35 years of experience on this subject) topped with Argentinean mountain salt and Patatas Fritas (just to mix the best of this two beautiful neighboring country that I visited and truly fascinated me).


And step into the green! Drink more bio and organic wines (and food) made from sustainable culture.

LeDom du Vin

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