Friday, 7 June 2013

Cono Sur; No family trees, no dusty bottles, just quality wine

A few weeks ago Vinspire's Matt raved about the extreme good value of the Cono Sur Pinot Noir, a bargain at just £5 in Asda. Whilst many of us have probably grabbed a bottle on sale in a supermarket en route to a dinner party/barbeque/get together, even the most clued in winos (in the nicest possible way!) would be surprised at just how many wines Cono Sur produces - I was astounded.

I knew of their entry level 'Bicycle' range, but not much more. At the London International Wine Fair I had the chance to sample almost the entire Cono Sur range - it took a while and I was definitely tipsy afterwards, but it was totally worth it!

Founded in 1993, with the vision of producing premium, expressive and innovative wines that convey the spirit of the New World, Cono Sur defines itself by three main features: the creative use of technology, orientation towards quality and respect and commitment for the environmentand innovative wines from the world’s southernmost land.

This year alone (and it's only June!), Cono Sur have been awarded Gold medals at both the Decanter World Wine Awards and the International Wine Challenge, been secured to appear on the Business and Upper Class wine lists for Lufthansa, Finnair, KLM, British Airways, Virgin Airlines, Korean Air and Lan Chile, AND  been ranked as the second most admired winery of South America by British magazine, Drinks International. On top of this, they have been recognised for their continued commitment to sustainability and were the most awarded winery in this year´s 10th annual Wines of Chile Awards. All in all, 2013 has been an incredibly good year for Cono Sur. But of course, at Vinspire it's all about the wine...Does it deliver? Is it good value for money? Would I recommend it to friends? The answers are yes, yes, and yes!

With so many wines, it was hard to pick a favourite, but I have managed to narrow it down to a Tremendous Top 5! (in no particular order, may I add) Also, check out the Virtual Sommelier on the Cono Sur site - ultra handy for food and wine matching and the dish suggestions are to die for! (Wagyu Steak with Volcano Salt and Creole Sauce with Roasted Vegetables - mmmmm!)

1. Cono Sur Sparkling Rosé NV
A pretty pink in the glass, this is fresh and crisp with aromas of sweet red berries. The perfect amount of fizz - not too aggressive -  is well balanced with a fruity berry palate. Think pre-dinner tipple, afternoon drinks in the sun, with battered fish with chips, or a fruity dessert. £9.95 per bottle from Slurp.

2. Cono Sur Reserva Especial Viognier
Fruity aromas of peaches and sweet apricot nectar, with a fresh citrus acidity and just a hint of oak. Fresh and balanced on the palate, mostly fruity, with a little bit of weight and a refreshing finish. A versatile food wine, think light spicy dishes, white meats or sweet juicy lobster (by the sea, in the sunshine please!). £35.94 for 6 bottles from Tesco Wine by the Case.

3.  Cono Sur Reserva Especial Pinot Noir
Juicy aromas and flavours of plum, cherry and sharp red berries, with a hint of cocoa, make for a well balanced and moreish red. Think, summer lunch and serve slightly chilled with white meats, cold cuts, and medium-bodied cheeses. £54.00 for 6 bottles from Tesco Wine by the Case.

4. Cono Sur Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Block No. 18 El Recurso)
The El Recurso (Resource) Block is a part of the El Recurso Estate in the upper, northeast Maipo Valley. Alluvial soil and small, round rocks make for the impressive color, intensity and aroma. Deep purpley/red in colour, with flavours of redcurrant, and blackcurrant, think autumn nights and Boeuf Bourguignon, followed by a cheese plate of Brie, Gorgonzola, Camembert and Cheddar.

5. Cono Sur 20 Barrels Limited Edition Syrah
Intense ruby red in colour and weighty in the glass, this was love at first sight! Aromas of black fruits, blackberries and plums follow through to a full-bodied, but soft, fruity palate, backed by spicy notes, and a long chocolatey finish. Think grilled red meats (BBQ season approaching!), slow cooked lamb shanks or strong cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. £14.39 per bottle at The House of Drinks.

These lovely beauties are brought to us here in the UK by CyT UK who are the only global subsidiary able to distribute the wines of Viña Cono Sur. A big thank you to Ed, who introduced me to the range at the LIWF!  I also got some free sunglasses out of it - result! Thanks CyT UK.


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