Quick Sip: Montes Alpha 2012 Syrah

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is the Montes Alpha 2012 Syrah from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. Located south of the capital city of Santiago, the Colchagua Valley, largely recognized for its red wines, is a well-known and regarded wine-growing appellation in Chile’s central valley. I had an opportunity to review this Syrah for a recent #SommChat Twitter tasting featuring Montes Alpha’s chief winemaker Aurelio Montes Sr. In celebration of “Earth Day,” Aurelio took time to tell us about Montes Winery as well as their new dry farming initiative.

Already adhering to sustainable agricultural practices since their founding in 1988; and certified under the Wines of Chile Sustainable Code, Montes Winery was compelled to do more. Realizing rainwater is a precious resource; and being responsible caretakers of the land, Montes Winery started a viticulture project in 2009. They began studying the impact of varying levels of vine irrigation on grape growth. Their findings proved significant; demonstrating that dry farming – which simply means the vineyard does not receive any irrigation -- improved the final quality of their wines. Aurelio notes, “We have seen in several tasting panels that through dry farming, we increase the concentration and final quality of the wines.” He added, “We get more ripe fruit, and more weight in the mouth, decreasing the use of water up to 65%.”

Montes’ dry farmed wines were introduced with the 2012 line-up of Alpha wines -- all produced from their Marchigüe and Apalta estates in Colchagua.  The Montes Alpha 2012 Syrah, which retails for $21.99, can be found online for $14.99 and represents very good value for the money. It is inky, shows good concentration and depth, and is harmonious in the mouth – hitting all the right notes. I recommend seeking some out this grilling season! For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Review: Montes Alpha 2012 Syrah (SRP $21.99):  A deep, dark purple color, this aromatic Syrah is appealing and expansive in character, offering a mouth-filling medley of ripe blueberries, blackberries, and plum flavors joined by subtle notes of mocha spice, vanilla bean, and floral nuances. It is full and round in the mouth, with fine integrated tannins and enough acidity to lift the fruit and support the richness; providing wonderful balance. The finish is medium-long, fruit-driven, and satisfying. A more than pleasing solitary sipper, this is also an excellent selection to have on-hand at your next backyard cookout – think gourmet burgers, grilled red meats, or lamb chops!  Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile. Other info: ABV 14.5%, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Viognier, yields 2.8 tons per acre, 55% barrel aged for 12 months in French oak barrels with 1, 2, or 3 uses, cork enclosure). Rating: 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

I would like to thank Montes Winery and Feast PR for their time and invitation to the Earth Day virtual tasting. Cheers!

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