2010 Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc - Casablanca Valley

A white wine with the right stuff
Friday, October 7th, 2011
wine glass
The Casablanca Valley, a beautiful area about 45 minutes from downtown Santiago, is lush with vines and filled with wineries. Driving to the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar last January, we stopped at the Casas del Bosque vineyard in the Casablanca Valley for a tour, tasting and lunch.

The most important grapes in the valley are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. If I made a list of my favorite wines, these two would be competing for last place, so my expectations were not high. We walked around the grounds and through the cave hearing about the grapes, the wines, and the man, Juan Cuneo Solari, who started Casas del Bosque (Houses of the Forest) in 1993 to fulfill a childhood dream of his father's. Solari is the Sam Walton of Chile and his initial planting some twenty years ago was in a then unknown valley chosen for its proximity to Santiago and his business operations.

Even when I learned that in 2006 Casas del Bosque's Sauvignon Blanc was the first white wine ever to be named best overall wine in Chile by a panel of wine writers and experts, I assumed it was good for its type, but not my type. We were set up on chairs and sofas in a garden overlooking the vines. Butterflies fluttered around the flowers and a soft breeze ruffled the bushes nearby. Glasses were lined up and the first wine was poured: Casas del Bosques 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. You know what's coming here-I loved that wine. Clear, clean color and notes of peaches and citrus, it was the perfect wine for that perfect moment. Because I found myself using floral as a positive adjective for a wine and also loved their Pinot Noir, I decided to buy some wines and take them back to a more mundane setting for a real taste test.

Even in a rather basic hotel room with no butterflies and no gentle breezes, the wine wowed us. Rounded, firm fruit with a strong finish, this is not a watery Sauvignon Blanc. It's a wine with a lot to offer. We were told that Sauvignon Blanc should be drunk in the year it's bottled. We may have to go back to Chile to find some that young. I am willing to make that trip.

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