When it comes to great wine from Chile, Baron Eric de Rothschild is betting on the tortoise, not the hare. Although Los Vascos, his company's winery in the Colchagua Valley, has been making wine there since 1988, only now is it releasing a superpremium Cabernet Sauvignon. Le Dix de Los Vascos will sell for $40 per bottle when it arrives in U.S. retail stores early in November.
"When we started, people wondered why we didn't make a wine like this," said Rothschild, who runs Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild, whose crown jewel is Chateau Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux. "But I told my team that the brief was to make a really good $7 wine. Only after 10 years of experimentation did I feel we were ready to make a wine of the highest quality."
Los Vascos' other Cabernet Sauvignons sell for less than $10 per bottle (the reserve line is a bit more expensive) and consistently receive ratings in the "good to very good" range from Wine Spectator, making them regulars on the Best Buy list. But over the years, Los Vascos' winemaking team has made small experimental lots from the best vineyards, and with the 1996 and '97 vintages, they decided they were ready to challenge Almaviva, Sena and the other new Chilean reds selling for $50 and more.
The two Le Dix de Los Vascos wines (which have not been rated yet in blind tastings) are quite different in style. The 1996 is lean and elegant, with bright, crisp fruit flavors, and bears a strong resemblance to a cedary Bordeaux. The '97, from a riper vintage, is richer, with a plush texture and deep plum and chocolate flavors -- more international in style. The wines will be packaged in wooden cases, which hold three bottles of each vintage. Only 3,600 bottles of each vintage were made, out of the nearly 350,000 cases the winery produces each year.
For recent ratings of Los Vascos wines, click here.
For past news about Chile's other high-end wines:
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