Apaltagua Reserva Pinot Noir, San Antonio Estate Grown, Chile 2019

Medium ruby color; cherry, raspberry, oak on the nose; cherry, raspberry, strawberry, smoke on the palate.

Apaltagua Reserva Pinot Noir, San Antonio Estate Grown, Chile 2019

Dry; supple tannins; smooth, easy drinker with hints of earth and rusticity. Grapes harvested in March; lies on the skins at low temperature, then ferments for 10 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel. 30% of the wine ages in oak barrels for six-to-eight months, followed by six months in bottle before releasing for sale. Simple wine, some acidity, pleasant entry-level pinot noir. 13.5% ABV

Grapes come from Apaltagua’s Manatiales estate vineyard in the El Turco sector of the San Antonio Valley of Chile. Medium body. Very serviceable QPR pinot noir. This does not soar to ecstatic heights of complexity and etherial delights—but you have to pay four or five times as much for that.

The Viña Apaltagua story begins in 1995 when successful American businessman Edward Tutunjian vacationed in Chile. Tutunjian fell in love with Chile and Chilean wines and began acquiring vineyards. Eventually, that included estates in Palmilla (Colchagua) and the Manantiales estate the supplies grapes for this wine. Apaltagua now has a presence in all of the five major wine producing valleys in Chile.

Apaltagua owner Edward Tutunjian

Apaltagua Reserva Pinot Noir, San Antonio Estate Grown, Chile 2019 works nicely as a weekday sipper. Excellent value if somewhat innocuous. Easily fits into a holiday feast as the second or third bottle after you have trotted out some stars from your cellar and want to keep the good times rolling without ravaging your budget. This is a pure pinot noir play, which sets it apart from other lower-shelf offerings that may include up to 25% of whatever leftover red grape juices found in the winery.

Pair with salmon and other rich fish-seafood; lighter beef dishes; veal; lamb; venison; poultry. Cheese—semi-soft cheeses; gruyère, comté, emmenthal, gouda. Washed rind cheeses such as taleggio, epoisses, reblochon. $12

Apaltagua website