Pictured below is my current workplace.
The terrace at the Hotel Gervasoni in Valparaiso is the setting for the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles Chile 2010 tasting. Not a bad place in which to work.
We tasted 49 wines this morning, with my group allocated 14 Sauvignon Blancs, 2 rosados, 14 Cabernet Sauvignons, 9 Merlots and 10 “assemblage” (blends). On the whole, the 2009 wines were better than the 2010s, which might be due more to earthquakes than the weather. For me, the Merlots were the most successful wines – the best ones showed good varietal character but also some New World generosity and sweetness.
The most egregious examples were unripe or reduced – or both.
This afternoon we were in Casablanca, the first of Chile’s “cool climate” wine regions. To prove how cool it is, we were given lunch al fresco at Casas del Bosque. It was so bracing that blankets were provided. It’s not as warm here as I was expecting. Further inland, over the other side of the Coastal Range, it can be very hot indeed – as it was when I arrived in Santiago yesterday. But towards the coast it is noticeably cooler.
Anyway, the lunch was very good. The starter was Ceviche de Pulpo, which is octopus, onions, peppers, lime juice and oil. Just the job with some Casablanca Sauvignon or Chardonnay.
For the main course we were given Codornices Asadas, quails with a basil-flavoured risotto, and Chuletas de Cordero, lamb with butternut squash. The Pinot Noirs that we tasted with this were too extracted for my taste.
To finish, there was a Parfait de Dulce de Leche, milk caramel with berries. This was served with an as yet unbottled Late Harvest Riesling by Casas del Bosque. Casablanca gets a lot of fog, which is ideal for cultivating botrytis for the production of sweet wines. I would never have known it unless I had been here.