Winter has hit us with a vengeance. Last evening the temperature was plunging down to about -15 °F (-26 °C). So I reached for some wines from south of the equator - namely Chile. Wines from South America are really coming into their own these days. I first opened a 2002 merlot from Dallas Conté. They are located in the Rapel Valley in the middle of the country near the town of Rancagua. This had a nice deep color with aromas of sour black cherries, leather and blackberries. On the tongue hints of herbs and pepper mingled with the black fruits. The fruit hung on for quite a while ending in a leathery mocha finish. After opening up for an hour in the decanter it became more complex. Good firm tannins but smooth and drinkable now. An interesting and solid merlot.
I next opened a 2003 Yelcho Carménère Riserva. This comes from the Maipo Valley which is located to the north of the Rapel Valley. I've been a fan of Yelcho since I found it on sale for less than $10 last year. I've been keeping this bottle to see how it developed. The color was INKY INKY INKY. Dark and INKY. Did I say it was INKY? Amazing color. It had the most unusual nose that was earthy and musty with hints of fruit. Coffee and leather came through as well. It had a big full body with lots of earthy red and black fruits. A slight tobacco meets dirt meegs black pepper came through. Cassis and lots of back end blackberries carried it through . Tinges of vanilla, dark chocolate and mocha. It also had, strangely, flavors of charcoal on the finish but in a good way. A big unusual wine from Chile. I still like it.
By the way, like my decanters? They are simply 1 liter florence flasks made for chemistry. They make great little decanters for a bottle of wine.