Valdivieso Brut Rosé NV, Chile
W e think of Chile as New World when we talk about its winemaking. But Spanish conquerors planted grapevines there more than 460 years ago. Later, Bordeaux varieties were planted and Chile became one of the leading wine producers in the world.
Wars in Europe and social and political upheaval in Chile dramatically reduced the wine market, but a return to democracy in 1990 brought new life to the wine industry. It has been growing steadily in volume and quality until it is again near the top.
The best thing about wines from Chile is the value. I have had many wines from Chile that are outstanding and inexpensive. I also have had some of their top-end wines, and they can hold their own with the best wines in the world. Chilean wines generally over-deliver at every price point.
The Valdivieso Brut Rosé is a great example of that.
One of the categories often overlooked in Chile is sparkling wine. Valdivieso produces some incredible sparklers made in the traditional Champenoise method with a natural fermentation in the bottle. The brut rosé is made in the less-expensive Charmat method where the second fermentation takes place in large, sealed stainless steel tanks. This is the same process used in Italian prosecco.
Light pink in color, the Valdivieso offers fresh fruit and floral aromas. A few sips reveal tastes of strawberry and cherry with a hint of citrus. There is a touch of sweetness nicely balanced by a crisp acidity. It is a round, balanced wine with a soft effervescence.
The wine is 70 percent pinot noir and 30 percent chardonnay grown in the Curico Valley. The vineyards are located at the foot of the Cordillera de los Andes where they enjoy cool mornings and evenings, allowing the fruit to ripen slowly. This generates a natural acidity. Allowing the pinot noir grapes to ripen fully adds the pink color.
After harvest, the grapes are cool fermented in the cellar for the base wine. Then it is put in tanks for the Charmat fermentation to add the bubbles. This brut rosé has a nice, steady stream of small, long-lasting bubbles. After fermentation the wine rests on its lees for 30 days to pick up additional flavor before it is bottled.
Serve it well chilled.
Winery: Valdivieso is one of the oldest of the modern wineries in Chile, dating back to 1870s when Don Alberto Valdivieso founded Champagne Valdivieso. He had brought vines from Europe and by 1879 was ready to bottle his first sparkling wine. It was the first sparkling wine produced in South America.
By the 1950s the company branched out to still wines, and now produces most major varietals from vineyards throughout Chile at its Lontué winery in the Curicó Valley.
Today it is one of the most prestigious wineries in Chile. It is the top sparkling wine producer in the country, with about 60 percent of the sparkling market in Chile. It owns vineyards and has longterm contracts with growers in the best regions of the country.
While it is well known for its extensive sparkling offerings (including some fruit-flavored bottles such as cranberry-blackberry), Valdiieso also produces a wide variety of still wines, including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, syrah, cabernet franc, carmenere and reserve wines from a single valley or a single vineyard.
The company exports to more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia and South America, as well as the United States. It has been owned since the mid 1900s by the Mitjans family. The company is committed to sustainable development and uses state-of-the-art technology to produce its wines.
Goes with: I like to cook but I also like easy, so we regularly order carryout. The most difficult food to match with wine is Chinese. The sauces and spices play havoc with the flavor profile of many wines.
The best solution is sparkling wine, especially if it is slightly off-dry. Finding a rosé is even better. For me, when I see a pink sparkler, it turns into a party. There’s something festive about bubbles rising through a pink wine.
My wife Teri was off with her friends, so my son Michael and I decided to order Chinese one night last week. It was probably the best decision I made all week. We always order enough to have leftovers for at least one more dinner and one lunch. Michael’s girlfriend Micheala joined us for the food.
I had Kung Po Chicken, vegetable fried rice, an egg roll, fried chicken wings and fried dumplings. The fresh fruit and crisp acidity of the brut rosé were a great match for all the varied flavors of the meal, from the sweet duck sauce for the egg roll to the spicy sauce on the chicken and the pungent soy sauce for the dumplings.
This will be a go-to sparkler all summer long.
I think it will pair well with Mexican food, salads, canapés, light soups, cold cuts and with fruit dipped in chocolate. It is not a dessert wine, but it would be a nice sipper after a meal.
The folks at Valdivieso also offer several cocktails made from their wine. I particularly liked the Mojito Rosé.
[box] Mojito Rosé
Valdivieso Brut Rosé
• Simple syrup
• Lemon juice
• Mint Preparation:
• In a tall glass add mint leaves and macerate with sugar
• Add ½ measure of syrup
• Add ½ measure of lemon juice
• Fill with Valdivieso Brut Rosé
• Add 3-4 blueberries[/box]
Author Dennis Sodomka