From the brilliant poetry of Pablo Neruda to images of its stunning landscape and coastline, the South American nation of Chile has long intrigued me. As an adult, I can now add Chilean wines to my list of pleasures and Concha y Toro is a producer that always impresses me with their diverse selection of well-crafted wines. Their Gran Reserva Serie Riberas (Riverbank Series) is a family of single-vineyard wines in which the grapes are grown in close proximity to one of Chile's major rivers. This closeness to the river imbues the grapes with tremendous freshness and minerality. Serie Riberas showcases several varietals and I suggest getting started with the Sauvignon Blanc and Carmenere.
Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($17) is produced from grapes grown at the Ucúquer Vineyard near the bank of the Rapel River in the Colchaqua Valley. This vibrant wine has juicy flavors of citrus, green apple, and lime that are elegantly balanced by perky acidity and crisp minerality. Pretty with plenty of finesse, this sip is a perfect match with ceviche, fish, oysters, and shrimp.
Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Carmenere 2014 ($17)
Carmenere may have its roots in Bordeaux but this robust red grape really earned its stellar reputation in Chile. I loved the richness and grace of Gran Reserva's blend of 90% Carmenere and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Juicy flavors of plum, violets, blueberries, and chocolate are balanced by an appealing earthiness and touch of spice. Lively acidity and soft tannins keep this wine alive on your palate, like a tender kiss. Pair with sharp cheeses, roasted & grilled meats, and the poetry of Neruda. Cheers!