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label Concha y Toro (Chile) Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2000
Just last week Chile announced that a new generic body would open in the UK this summer, with a one million pound budget to promote Chilean wines. The truth is, that for all that Chile continues to provide some of the best value for money drinking around, their profile has been slipping against New World competition recently. They have been losing out to newer kids on the block like South Africa in the under a fiver bracket, and finding it difficult to make inroads into the Australian dominance of the premium sector. I met up with head winemaker Marcello Papa last year, and he was bursting with enthusiasm for what Chile could do given half a chance. This Chardonnay (which has an equally impressive partner Cabernet Sauvignon) comes from the top Santa Isabella vineyard, and is fermented in one, two and three year-old French oak barriques. It is aged on the lees for nine months, then given a further six months maturation after bottling. The nose is loaded with fig, quince and exotic peppered mango aromas. There are honeysuckle hints, and notes of toasted hazelnuts. On the palate it is creamy-bodied and smooth, with an elegant acidity tightening tropical fruit flavours, peach and more creamy, leesy, toasty notes on the finish. A powerful, lingering, and impressive wine. Safeway, 6.99.