Viña Aquitania Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2010: Very dark garnet-ruby color; bright red fruit, herb nose; cherry, berries, mint, leather, some licorice and blackcurrant taste without the tang on the palate.
Soft tannin, excellent acidity; dry, medium body, made in rustic claret style, hints of green herbs on medium-long finish that has a unexpected meld of graphite, bitter chocolate and veggie elements—but that significantly fades with air, allowing the wine to round into deliciousness (bottom line: do not pop and pour). Decanting/air almost always helps red wines, especially cabs, this is vivid example. The effort is simple and approachable; with its subdued tannin it does not proclaim cab! on the palate but it trades that in for the charms of smoothness and easy drinkability. This does not taste like a Bordeaux or a California cab; it tastes like Chile—different terroir, different circumstances, this wine is survivor of the huge 2010 earthquake in Chile, for instance. Subdued tannin is a tell of Chilean cabs, BTW. The wine comes from the Central Valley Region of Chile, specifically the Maipo Valley near Santiago, and even more specifically the Alto Maipo which is heavily influenced by the looming Andes mountains. The region is notable for hot, sunny days and cold nights; poor, porous, rocky soil puts vines in significant stress—ideal for cabernet sauvignon. The owner/management team is a fearsome foursome: Bruno Prats (Cos d’Estournel), Paul Pontallier (Chateau Margaux), Chilean agronomist and oenologist Felipe de Solminihac, and Ghislain de Montgolfier (CEO of Bollinger). Heavyweight wine guys; they make a distinctly Chilean cab at a good price and definitely worth a whirl in your wine journey. $18-22