Conde de Velázquez Condesa Real Premium Blend Red Wine 2012

Inky black-dark ruby color; olive, dark berries on the nose; dark cherry, liquorice, balsamic flavors on the palate.

Intriguing wine with flavors that don’t easily fall into predictable categories. Conde may have made something original here, and it is fascinating. Full in the mouth, respectfully puckering tannins, good acidity (3.58 pH), layers of flavor assault your palate—in a good way that gets more agreeable and understandable with each glass.

Wine Enthusiast scored this 91 points, which will put this Chilean/Aconcagua Valley winery on the international wine map. Blend is 40% cabernet sauvignon, 30% syrah, 30% merlot, producing an intriguing blend that is distinctly Chilean and not Old World. Dusty finish, oak without dominating the palate, nicely focused wine with balance and distinctiveness. The cab and syrah dominate, the merlot scrambles to keep this from becoming a Pier One flavor brawl among assertive grapes and oak. It is not jammy delicious commodity wine; it is serious, sophisticated wine that will pair well with rich red meats, barbacoa/barbeque, and other strong-tasting beef that need something of substance and power to play with. That element alone likely earned the 91 points from WE. Each sip elicits a “whoa, I haven’t tasted this very often, let me try another.”

The dusty, somewhat earthy rusticity holds even after significant exposure to air. This is serious wine from maker stepping up into the serious wine category. It may be too exotic for red wine newbies who cling to insipid merlots or over-fruited, commodity California blends, but if you want to experience a walk on the wilder, out-of-your comfort zone, stretch-your-palate toward exotic quality wine, this definitely is worth finding and sipping. Considering the full effort, great price, by the way. $29

Conde de Velázquez website
Second photo: Conde de Velázquez vineyards.
Conde de Velázquez Condesa Real Premium Blend Red Wine
Conde de Velázquez vineyard