Back in April the Wine for the Rest of Ustasting panel participated in a broad tasting of white wines from Chile. The Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting featuring eight Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines from Chile's coastal regions didn’t make it into this column for two main reasons. For starters, the collection of eight reasonably similar wines tasted in relatively rapid succession exhausted our palates, blurring the distinctions after about the fourth or fifth wine. And most importantly, the consensus favorite among the eight – Cono Sur "Vision" Sauvignon Blanc – was hard to find locally and at about $15 a bottle, just outside the sweet spot of our budget wine price range.
Not that $15 is a fortune. But Chile is such a prolific source of terrific and inexpensive sauvignon blanc that can be easily found for between $8 and $10 a bottle (see “Look to Chile for your house white wine”) that the price seemed a bit extravagant. It was a shame, since the Wines of Chile tasting underscored what a pleasant middle ground Chilean sauvignon blanc stakes out between the bracing intensity of New Zealand whites and the subtle minerality of sauvignon blanc from the grape’s native France.
If you live or work in the upper NW, convenient to Connecticut Ave., Magruder’s has Cono Sur Vision Sauvignon Blanc (as well as the Pinot Noir featured on our Top 5 Value Pinot Noirs list) on sale for $10.99, a great bargain for a spectacular wine.
“Pungent aromas of grapefruit, mint and white flowers,” is how Josh Raynolds, at Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, described the wine in May, scoring it 88 points. “Sweet, spicy and focused, with bright citrus fruit flavors and a hint of dusty herbs. Tactile, precise sauvignon, finishing with flavors of grapefruit pith and bitter herbs.”
The wine’s acidity makes it a good wine to pair with food, as well as a refreshing summer sipper.
“A fine 2011 sauvignon, this is fresh and light with subtle varietal scents of herbs and citrus,”according to Wine & Spirits magazine, which scored the 2011 vintage 92 points. “The wine’s acidity pricks the tongue with a gentle tickle. An aperitif white to serve with sautéed prawns.”
If the Wisconsin Ave. corridor heading toward Friendship Heights is more convenient, or you just want to save a buck, Rodman’s Discount Gourmet has both the Cono Sur Vision wines on sale for $9.99 a bottle. (About the best price in the country, according to wine-searcher.com.)
These are wines that have rewarded our patience well. Just don’t feel you have to be patient once you’ve picked up a bottle or two. These are for drinking while it’s still summer.
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