Who knew Chile could make such compelling Sauvignon Blanc?
I certainly didn’t until now. The winemaker-producer is Rafael Tirado, Chilean native and one of the most sought-after consultants in the country’s wine industry. The vineyards were planted in 1993 and are perched at around 1800 feet altitude in the Maule Valley, hitherto mostly recognized as primarily a bulk wine region and considered inferior to the more recognized Maipo and Colchagua Valleys of Chile.
The 2017 LABERINTO Sauvignon Blanc is surely the kind of wine, especially for the price, that makes you perk up and pay attention. I mean that literally, first of all, but primarily metaphorically. The Laberinto is beautifully crisp—I mean, crisp! The acidity on the mouthwatering finish is absolutely ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean in the awesome way. So bright, so refreshing, so inviting you to take another sip quickly. There’s a note of grapefruit rind on the finish as well that adds a level of complexity and sophistication—just love it.
There’s very low sugar levels here, so those accustomed to New Zealand fruity should give this a try and see what’s on the other side. There’s lively notes of gooseberry and green melon, for sure, but it’s the salinity and precision and leanness and laser-beam focused structure that’s grabs you, compels you. There’s no frills, no embellishment—just Sauvignon Blanc grape varietal purity and freshness, not to mention pure enjoyment.
What a triumph, of the spirit and of craftsmanship. And a revelation. Chilean Sauvignon Blanc… who knew? Well, you and I do now. –J.M.