Casa Silva Cabernet Sauvignon Los Lingues Vineyard 2014, Chile
I have rarely had a wine from Chile that didn’t overdeliver. Chilean wines have long been bargains at every price level.
Last week several of my friends and I had a chance to taste nine wines from Chile, ranging in price from $7.99 to $19.99, and we loved them all.
The good news is you can try them all at Whole Foods through the rest of this month. Their global beverage buyer picked his favorite Chilean wines under $20 and made them available at each store. It’s a marvelous list, and I can’t quibble with any of the picks. The wines also will be available at Whole Foods’ Friday night wine tastings this month.
The Casa Silva cab has a rich, rounded taste, with plenty of ripe fruit. It is a gorgeous deep red in the glass with intense aromas of strawberries, cherries and cassis with some spiced black pepper notes. There are juicy raspberry flavors with bold tannins and smooth acidity to put everything in balance.
After harvest the grapes were placed in a cold soak for several days and then fermented. Eighty percent of the juice was aged in oak barrels for 10-12 months. Then the various blocks were blended, fined, filtered and bottled.
The grapes were from Casa Silva’s estates in the Colchagua Valley on plants descended from Saint Emilion vines brought from Bordeaux to Chile by the first generation of the Silva family in the 19th Century.
The valley is more than 1,400 feet above sea level and gets cool air rolling down the Andes Mountains and temperate breezes from the ocean.
Here’s what Dan had to say about the Casa Silva cab: “I started to say it was jammy but rethought it after a second taste. Not jammy but very soft tannins. Nice aroma but can’t say why. I can drink this cab every night. Wonderful with the Chilean prepared foods.”
Here are the other wines we tasted that will be featured at Whole Foods. Comments are from me, Dan Doughtie and Devon Broglie, Master Sommelier and Global Beverage Buyer for Whole Foods. Recipes from Whole Foods will be at the end of this feature.
–Odfjell Armador Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley 2016, $12.99
Crisp, clean wine. Very austere. Grapefruit and herbal flavors. Great with chicken.
Dan and Heather liked this wine. “Nice grapefruit with a hint a sweetness. Very crisp on the edge of our mouth,” they said.
Devon: “Dan Odfjell is a Norwegian who fell in love with a farm in Chile’s Casablanca Valley and bought it. He was the first to realize that sauvignon blanc could thrive there.”
Pair it with easy chicken posole.
Winemaker’s notes: “Pale yellow in color with green reflections. Dry grass, green lime, yellow grapefruit and fresh citric dominate the aromas.
The attack is fresh and mineral, filling the mouth with concentrated citrus flavors. The bright acidity continues into a long finish.”
–Viña Erraruriz MAX Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa 2015, $17.99
I loved this one, others called it tart. Citrus profile with some pineapple. Dan: “Nice body. Body of a heavily oaked California Chardonnay without the butter. Nice fruit but with a tart edge. The flavor is very French oak: it spends 10 months in new French oak.” Winemaker’s notes: “The wine has a citrus profile reminiscent of mandarins, with some final notes of pineapple and papaya. It unfolds aromas of fresh fruit, with hints of acidity that give tension to the wine. Scented hints of tropical fruit, framed by soft toast and dried fruit notes. Good mouthfeel with an excellent persistence, wine has a long and elegant finish.”
Devon: “Errazuriz, one of Chile’s oldest and most beautiful wineries, was the first to cultivate the coastal zones of hot, dry Aconcagua Valley.”
Pair it with Butternut Squash Rosotto.
–Autoritas Pinot Noir Valle Central 2015, $7.99
It tastes like a pinot, which is amazing at this price. Jammy cherry and plum.
Winemaker’s notes: “Cherry and plum aromas are dusty and dry. This pinot noir has a pinched, distant feel and woody flavors that are low on fruit. On the finish, this has no fruit to speak of and only dry oak-spice flavors.”
Devon: “Value alert! This one is a steal and a good example of an inexpensive, well-balanced, drinkable Pinot Noir.”
Pair it with homemade black bean burgers.
–Boya Pinot Noir Leyda Valley 2014, $14.99
Bigger pucker factor, nice and dry. Cranberry and raspberry with fine tannins.
Devon: “Looking for a quintessential pinot noir from Chile? This is it! Boya vineyards are only five miles from the coast — some of Chile’s closest vineyards to the ocean.”
Pair it with baked cumin chickpea fries.
–Criterion Carménère Colchagua Valley 2015, $13.99
Flavors of black and red berries with spices. My second favorite of the tasting. Elegant.
Dan: “Has a bit of a musty nose. Different flavor with each ship. Nice complex flavors with the jerk pork. By itself it’s nice but the flavors that sparkled with the jerk pork are gone. Heather says dark fruit. Well balanced.”
Winemaker’s notes: “Our Criterion Carménère captures this Andean spirit with a generous balance of black and red berries, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and a savory touch of dark chocolate.”
Devon: “As with all Criterion wines, this represents a benchmark for the varietal. The Colchagua Valley, like many in Chile, is closer to the equator than usual for winemaking, but cooling Pacific breezes create a Mediterranean climate perfect for this grape.”
Pair it with roasted leg of lamb with olive and orange tapenade.
–Mayu Carménère-Syrah Elqui Valley 2014, $12.99
Great to sip by itself. Big flavors of blackberry and blueberry. Dark and jammy.
Dan: “Nice dark fruit. A bit jammy but not overly so. Best sipper of the bunch so far by itself. Blackberry and blueberry flavors.”
From the website: “…very fruit driven and juicy wine with a mix of ripe blackberries and cherries with a savory note and ripe tannins. It is perfect before a meal or served with a range of foods, including grilled meats and Mediterranean dishes.”
Devon: “The daytime heat of the arid Elqui Valley gives way to very cool nights, concentrating intense flavors, deep color and complexity in the grapes grown there.”
Pair it with pizza with Le Gruyère and Prosciutto
–Erasmo Reserva de Caliboro Maule Valley 2010, $19.99
Red Bordeaux-style blend. Black fruit with spice flavors. Old World elegance. Think of this as a Super Tuscan.
Dan: “Not what I expected for a blend. Drier. Tart edged . Michael really liked it. Flavors jumped out in bursts with the peppered meat and the cheeses. Some Bing Cherry jumps out but not with every sip.”
Devon: “It’s no coincidence the winery’s Italian owner chose Chile’s Maule Valley to put down his roots—the country’s best wines come from there.”
Pair it with classic beef tenderloin with red wine-shallot pan sauce.
–De Martino Estate Organic Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley 2014, $12.99
Another great cab. Ripe, lush, gorgeous. Perfectly balanced. Made with organic grapes.
Devon: “De Martino’s Marcelo Retamal was recently ranked 13th in Decanter Magazine’s list of the world’s 30 most influential winemakers. This wine is lights out. I would put it up against any California Cabernet at twice the price.”
Pair it with beef paprikash.
Casa Silva Los Lingues Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley 2014, $17.99
Devon: “The Silva family planted the first vines in the Colchagua Valley all the way back in 1892. And through extensive viticultural and clonal research, they continue to invest in the valley’s future.”
Pair it with Maple-Sage Cornish Hens with Roast Apples.
Winery: The Silva family planted the first vineyards in the Colchagua Valley in 1892, and their cellar is the oldest in the valley. Now in their fifth generation to run the winery, they continue to look for ways to innovate.
Though the family grew grapes for other producers and made some of its own wine, it was not until 1997 that Mario Pablo Silva, the oldest son of the fifth generation, and his father, Mario Silva, achieved the dream of making wines under their own label.
The elder Silva had spent much of his life rejuvenating the old vineyards and restoring the wine cellar. Through all his work he had developed a unique understanding of the terroir in the Colchagua Valley and knew which grapes would thrive. His other sons Francisco, Gonzalo, and Raimundo joined the winery and contributed to its development.
Casa Silva is one of three pioneering wineries that have achieved certification of 100 percent of its vineyards under the new Wines of Chile Sustainability Code. It also has a large area under organic management and is constantly improving its processes in the cellar and its relationship with its community.
The family’s love of traditional life is evident from the extensive equestrian facilities they have developed at the Angostura estate. Visitors to the on-site restaurant, hotel or wine bar can take in the sights of the Casa Silva polo team in action or local Huaso cowboys demonstrating their skills in the rodeo stadium. Visitors are also able to learn to horse-ride, participate in the show-jumping arena, or even learn the traditional Cueca dance – all surrounded by the beautiful vineyards with the dramatic backdrop of the Andes Mountains.
I had the opportunity to visit Casa Silva and it is a spectacularly beautiful property. The tasting facility is first rate, and the restaurant and hotel are worth seeing. We didn’t see any polo, but the stables and horses are as fine as any equestrian facility I’ve ever seen. There is even an antique car museum. The Silva family takes the lifestyle part of their business seriously.
Goes with: To taste these wines I grilled some chicken and pork. I rubbed the chicken pieces with a merquen spice mix. It is a Chilean favorite mix that gives dishes a smokey barbecue flavor. I love it will all kinds of food.
I divided the pork into three portions. One I rubbed with a Chilean citrus herb chili pepper mix, another I rubbed with jerk spices and another I rubbed with hot jerk spices.
All the meats matched the wines pretty well, although I think I preferred the citrus herb mix with the Casa Silva cab.
The winery recommends red meat for this cab, such as grilled burgers, ribs, T-bone steak or herb-marinated pork tenderloin.
If you can find some merquen, you should try it. You can mix it with soups and stews, make a marinade with it or just rub it into meat on the grill. If you can’t find it locally, you can get in online from a Chilean group in New York.
Easy Chicken Posole
Serves 6 to 8.
This big pot of soulful Mexican-style stew can be prepared start to finish in well under an hour. It’s ideal for feeding a crowd or for cooking ahead for the week. If you wish, have thinly sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, diced avocado and crispy corn tortilla strips on hand for garnishing.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
5 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 cups thinly sliced chard leaves and stems (about 1/2 bunch)
1 (28-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed or 2 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/8 teaspoon ancho chile powder or cayenne pepper
2 limes, cut into wedges
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, poblanos and garlic, and cook, stirring, until vegetables soften, 7 to 8 minutes. Add broth, chicken and salt, and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a cutting board and let cool 5 minutes. Shred chicken with 2 forks and return it to the pot. Add chard, hominy and oregano, and cook 5 minutes more. Taste and add ancho chile powder or cayenne pepper. Serve with lime wedges and additional garnishes of choice.
Butternut Squash Risotto
The golden flesh of butternut squash lends this risotto a beautiful color and a touch of sweetness. Serve alongside roasted broccoli for a hearty and comforting cold-weather meal.
1 small butternut squash (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Arrange squash and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring once or twice and adjusting heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until squash is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat broth in large saucepan over medium-low heat and keep warm.
In the saucepan used to steam the squash, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add onion and shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine and 1/2 cup of the simmering broth while stirring constantly, shaking the pan forward and back as you do, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until absorbed before adding more, until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and loose, about 20 minutes more. (Reserve any remaining broth for another use.)
Remove risotto from heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cheese and 3 cups of the steamed squash (more or less to your taste) and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Homemade Black Bean Burgers
These irresistibly delicious and easy-to-assemble burgers can be shaped ahead of time and cooked off when you’re ready to eat.
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive or canola oil
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
6 green leaf lettuce leaves
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Put beans in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add egg, yellow onion, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well to combine then shape into 6 patties.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange patties in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to buns, top with lettuce, tomatoes and red onions and serve.
Baked Cumin-Chickpea Fries
Popular in the Mediterranean, chickpea flour is used to make fritters or “French fries” called panisses, which are naturally gluten free. You can cut the chickpea mixture into classic shoestring French fries or opt for thicker steak fries, perfect for dipping in ketchup or mustard.
Olive spray oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1 pound chickpea flour, whisked
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with spray oil.
In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups salted water to a simmer over medium heat and whisk in cumin and chile flakes. Slowly add chickpea flour, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking continuously and cooking until mixture is thick and lump free, 3 to 5 minutes. It will resemble the consistency of oatmeal. Pour into the prepared baking dish and smooth parchment paper or plastic wrap over the top of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chickpea mixture is solidified, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 1 or more baking sheets with parchment paper. Flip chickpea mixture on a cutting board and cut into strips 1-inch wide. For steak fries, cut each strip crosswise into 3 pieces. For shoestring fries, cut each steak fry lengthwise into 4 smaller fries.
Working in batches or with multiple parchment-lined baking sheets, evenly space fries on the sheet(s). Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until fries are slightly dry and browned, about 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Olive and Orange Tapenade
Serves 12 to 14
This showstopper of a roast is flavored with fragrant herbs de Provence and dry mustard, and paired with a tangy olive tapenade spiked with fresh orange juice and zest.
1 1/2 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (6-pound) bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat and tied
1 cup pitted black olives, drained
1 cup pitted green olives, drained
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 oil-packed anchovies
1 small orange, zest removed with a vegetable peeler and roughly chopped, and juiced
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, stir together herbs de Provence, mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, onion powder, pepper, paprika and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Rub mixture all over lamb and place on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast until golden brown and sizzling, about 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350°F and continue to roast, basting lamb with pan juices once or twice, until done to your liking, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours more for medium (an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat, without touching bone, will register 145°F). Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine olives, parsley, anchovies, orange zest and juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
Carve lamb into slices and serve warm, topped with olive tapenade.
Pizza with Le Gruyère and Prosciutto
Move over, mozzarella! Rich, creamy, nutty Le Gruyère is the star of this pizza that works as well as an elegant first course as it does as a main course. Give it a garnish of fresh thyme leaves if you like.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (12-inch) pre-baked thin pizza crust
1/3 cup crème fraîche
3/4 cup grated Le Gruyère cheese
2 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, about 12 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet. Dot with crème fraîche and sprinkle with the caramelized onion, Le Gruyère and prosciutto. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling, about 12 minutes. Cool a few minutes and cut into wedges.
Classic Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine-Shallot Pan Sauce
Serves 8 to 10
With a cut of beef this tender, the simplest of preparations yields a moist and flavorful roast that’s perfect for any holiday meal. While the beef roasts, create a rich sauce in the same skillet used for searing the meat.
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) beef tenderloin roast, trimmed and tied
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine salt and pepper in a small bowl and rub mixture all over tenderloin (if roast is too long for a large skillet, cut in half crosswise).
Heat oil in a large skillet or roasting pan over medium-high heat (you will need to use 2 burners for the roasting pan). Add tenderloin and cook, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan if using a skillet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of tenderloin reads 125°F for medium-rare, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing (internal temperature will rise 5° to 10°).
Meanwhile, add shallots to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown and tender, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, and bring to a simmer. (If you used the roasting pan to brown the tenderloin, deglaze the pan and scrape that mixture into a skillet to make the sauce.) Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to low and stir in butter until melted. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Slice roast and serve with warm sauce.
Lean, flavorful rump roast is an excellent choice for this stew, but you can use any well-trimmed beef stew meat. Serve with egg noodles or try with other delicious options such as boiled or mashed potatoes, rice or polenta.
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, such as rump roast or chuck shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 yellow onions, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 red or green bell peppers, diced
3 tablespoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and add half to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl. Repeat with remaining beef.
Reduce heat to medium and combine onions and garlic in the pot. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, paprika and cayenne, then add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Return beef to the pot, lower heat, cover and simmer until beef is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve in bowls, topped with dollops of yogurt.
Maple-Sage Cornish Hens with Roast Apples
Here’s a dish with classic cold-weather flavors: sage, maple and apple. It’s a great alternative to roasting a whole turkey for holiday celebrations. We suggest that you use a carving knife to split each cooked hen through the breastbone and then cut out the backbone so that each hen serves two, although those with larger appetites may want a whole hen to themselves.
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 Cornish hens
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
4 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
In a small saucepan, combine cider, syrup, sage and shallot. Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush hens all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter and sprinkle inside and out with pepper and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Tie the legs of each hen together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the birds. Place them in a large roasting pan and surround with apples. Drizzle apples with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast 30 minutes.
Brush hens generously with cider glaze and continue to roast, brushing them with more glaze every 5 minutes, until they are browned and their juices run clear (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone, should register 165°F), 15 to 20 minutes more. Allow to rest 10 minutes, then split each hen down the middle and serve.
Author Dennis Sodomka