Intense ruby-red color. The nose is packed with layers of caramel, cinnamon, candy and hints of mint, with a prevalence of fruit over oak. A spicy, full-flavored wine, with good body, fruit and firm tannins. An engaging and strong finish. Well recommended for ageing.
The 2011 Montes Classic Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 15% Merlot and offers a simple black currant, vanilla and violet bouquet that is joyful and well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent tannin, crisp raspberry and dark cherry fruit, zesty acidity and lovely focus on the finish. At this price, it would be hard to find a better Cabernet. Drink now-2016. Montes was founded in 1987 and became one of the first wineries to exploit the hillsides to make premium Chilean wine, most notably in the Apalta Valley. It was also the first winery to cultivate Syrah in Colchagua. The winery eschews pumps and is built around gravity transfer, while the entire design is based around the Chinese concept of feng shui. Below lies the semi-circular cellar that houses up to 800 new French oak barrels, enjoying the Gregorian chants while they mature the wine. Despite the impressive facilities and quasi-ecclesiastical karma, Aurelio firmly believes that great wine is made in the vineyard rather than the winery. Still, when I questioned him about whether he is revising his modus operandi, he replied that, at least apropos his Chardonnay, like many in South America, he is decreasing the amount of oak in the wines while lifting the malolactic. This was generally a well turned out portfolio of wines that were far more consistent than others I tasted of similar size. While Montes is not beyond criticism, the entry-level wines represent a perfect introduction to Chilean wine at astoundingly good prices, while the premium bottles offer wines that should repay cellaring.
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