Dark magenta color with wisp of translucence on the rim; cherry, oak, berry on the nose; cherry, red fruits, black olives, balsamic, herbs on the palate.
Conde de Valázquez continues to rise as a Chilean maker of note, seeming to up their game each year, a wonderful achievement for a winery. In my review of the previous year’s effort, I noted each sip elicited a “whoa, I haven’t tasted this very often, let me try another sip.” This vintage does not quite taste the same as the previous year, but I could write the exact same comment.
The 2012 version of Condesa Real Premium Blend was the show-stealing but somewhat ungainly starlet on the red carpet. The 2013 version is the “oh my, oh my, she is developing into something really special” version. I salivate thinking of how this wine will continue to evolve. Find a bottle and enjoy the ride, too.
Conde wines have been made by Viña San Esteban in the central Aconcagua Valley since 2002. They are available in the United States as a result of interesting joint venture between Agricola Del Conde of Santiago, Chile, and WTWM Imports of San Angelo, Texas. WTWM is abbreviation of West Texas Wool and Mohair—San Angelo has long been center of wool and mohair business in the United States and WTWM has done business in the wool and mohair industry in Chile for decades. Thus the unexpected connection with Agricola Del Conde and a hides and hair operation in west-central Texas.
Viña San Esteban is located near the hillsides of Paidahuen (“Good Place” in the native tongue). The hillsides are covered with rock drawings and petroglyphs. In interesting coincidence, San Angelo is located 30 miles west of the Painted Rocks, a major site for Native American rock art in Texas. José Vicente purchased La Florida and Paidahuen estates for grape production in 1974. Twenty years later, José’s son, Horacio Vicente Mena—a winemaker trained in California and Bordeaux—joined his father to add winemaking to the grape growing enterprise.
Viña San Esteban is a pioneer in hillside vineyard plantings. The Mt. Paidahuén vineyard grows in rocky soil and receives optimal sunlight, ideal conditions to produce grapes with good structure and character. At the bottom of Mt. Paidahuén, Aconcagua’s riverbanks provide soil composed of drift stones and fragments of rock from the Andes. The light texture of the soil regulates water retention and excess vigor, encouraging the concentration of aromas and tannins in grapes, all of which reflect in Conde wines.
Conde de Velázquez Condesa Real Premium Blend 2013 is another step up for this Chilean winery. Very well made and delicious. $26-30