MontGras Ninquén Mountain Vineyard 2009: Dark ruby color; cherry, blueberry, elegant nose; cascade of black fruit, dark cherry, superb acidity (3.46 pH), ripe tannin; refined, assertive oak, vanilla; warm, powerful, juicy, full in the mouth.
The blend is 60% syrah and 40% cabernet sauvignon; it spent 24 months in 90% French and 10% American oak—80% of both new barrels. This is flagship wine at Niquén, an important Chilean maker in the Colchagua Valley; Niquén (nin-ken) comes from native word for “plateau on a mountain”. Ninquén was the first Chilean vineyard to plant on such lofty terrain. The wine and the winery experienced a jolt with the massive 8.8 scale earthquake in Chile in 2010, 10 months into the wine’s life in barrel. It took more than two weeks to begin to put things back in order and three months to sort out all the barrels; 15% of the wine was lost. The winery states: “we are sure it’s of the quality we always wanted, even if a big shaken.” Excellent, delicious top-shelf Chilean effort. $44-48
Second photo: Ninquén vineyard on the “plateau on a mountain”