2013 Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir

An associate of ours described what she was going through the past couple of weeks as “The proverbial duck on the water, calm on the surface, but paddling like mad underneath.” Turns out, that’s the way things are going on for all of us here at TWH right now. Transitioning to our new website is all you can imagine it to be. Hey, everyone’s got issues, so I won’t bore you with ours. Yet, we kindly ask you all to please bear with us as we paddle like mad during this transitional period. We’ve got a lot of new wines coming very soon, and we can’t wait to tell you all about them! You can rest assured that when the workday concludes and we all return home, having a glass of wine is a given. For me, the paddling doesn’t stop at the end of the work day. These days, coming to work offers a little less chaos than coming home does, if one can believe that. Not letting that get in the way of work, I was happily surprised by a vinous discovery this past week; the day I twisted off the cap of the 2013 Lomas Del Valle Pinot Noir.

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You certainly don’t hear a whole lot about Chilean Pinot Noir. Sure there’s Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, both warm climate grapes. It’s been a long, long time since we even carried a Chilean Pinot Noir, there doesn’t appear to be that much available to the American market. From time to time, it gets poured for Anya during some of her many tasting appointments. It’s always a good sign to the traveling wine rep when Anya asks, “Can you pour a little more in this glass for our staff to taste?” A sign that she’s ready to pull the trigger. For me, it’s pretty hard to remember what we taste from those little glasses. We never see the labels, so there’s no visual imprint. I’ve been guilty several times asking about wines that I had previously tasted in that fashion. I do remember tasting the 2013 Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir. I remembered taking in the aromas which were correct for the varietal, and the palate which was medium bodied and balanced. When Anya told me the price, I was impressed. Since the film Sideways, there has been a flurry of new Pinot Noirs on the market, and there are enough poor examples of them to lead me to conclude that if that film were to take place in today’s wine world, Niles’ famous comment would have begun with, “If she orders Pinot …” The Lomas del Valle doesn’t fall into that camp. For the price, it’s pretty impressive!

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The Lomas del Valle label (and its parent label Loma Larga) is part of the holdings of the Diaz family, wine producers in Chile since the 19th Century. They planted their vines in cool-climate Casablanca in 1999, and enlisted the help of winemaker Cédric Nicolle, who hails from France’s Loire Valley. It’s the proximity to the Pacific Ocean that gives Casablanca the cool nights required for the lengthy maturation period producing fruit that is physiologically ripe. Pinot Noir thrives in this climate, and for an entry-level Pinot Noir, this one is a price for quality leader!

It was easy to grab a bottle of the Lomas del Valle on the way out the door, its medium body and modest price being the key in this equation. Served alongside my summer-stew (marinated beef shank with kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery), the wine proved to outperform its price point by good margin! Briary raspberry, blackberry, and a hint of strawberry are the first things that hit your olfactory sensors. A second dip of the nose into the glass reveals an earthy backdrop with just a kiss of autumnal apple leaves. On the palate, the wine is light to medium in body, the berries back off and the bright acidity neutralizes any perceived sweetness, the finish reminiscent of red fruit and Asian spice. It really worked with the summer stew, so I anticipate I will have another go at this in the near future. It’s worth all, if not more, than that $15 price tag!

Okay, we’ve got a new website. Please do check it out from time to time, our work is nowhere near finished, and our goal is to make shopping online with us better than ever! As you know, we’re like a family here, a food and wine loving family who enthusiastically scour the wine world for the best to present to you, our customers. Don’t get me wrong, the wines are for us too!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about Chilean Pinot Noir, Bordeaux, or English football: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Chile, Peter Zavialoff, Pinot Noir

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