TONIGHT in Singapore I had the most delightful Concha y Toro wines at a special tasting presented by suave and friendly winemaker Andreas Ballesteros. Founded in 1883, Concha y Toro is the largest winery in Chile. I liked the Teerunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2004 in the New Zealand style with intense gooseberry notes and hints of fresh capsicum. Matched with a Bouquet of Mixed Seafood comprising prawn, scallop and mussel swimming in a cream of corn and tomato soup it was a harmonious combinaton. It came as no suprise to me that the winemaker had worked in New Zealand for Cloudy Bay. Their new brand Trio has 3 grape varietals blended together. The Trio Merlot 2004 has 65% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon but what makes it special is the 20% Carmenere from the Rapel Valley. Carmenere is to Chile what Pinotage is to South Africa and I was impressed by the chocolate, cloves and spice on the first and second nose plus the smooth texture, firm structure plus lovely black cherries and cinnamon on the mid palate. With this, Empasidas Con Salsa Verde filled with traditional fried pork and olive was a fitting foil. The Trio Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 is in the Old World style with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet Franc. I loved the toasty oak, mint and eucalyptus on the nose and Damson plums on the plate. I savoured this wine with tasty Spring Lamb Casserole sprinkled with plump raisins and pinenuts. Chef Ruth Van Waerebeek hails from Belgium but now cooks in Chile, whipped up all the food to match the wines. When you get a chance, try some Conchay y Toro Trio Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and you may be pleasantly suprised with these wines that have the brashness of the New World with the finesse of the Old World. Salud!
Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet