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by Fred McMillin
for February 11, 1998
"Foulweather Jack" on Chilean Wines
Lord Byron's grandfather, a British admiral, was known as "Foulweather Jack" after surviving a Cape Horn shipwreck and making his way to Santiago, Chile. His opinion of Chilean wines nearly two centuries ago was that their taste resembled the "tarred goatskins in which they are transported."...by Hugh Johnson in "Vintage"
1993—"The quality of Chilean wine is constantly improving. Some reds, especially the Cabernet Sauvignon, are among the best in the world."...Miro Popic in "Slow Food Guide to Wine"
1997—"Our Calina wines are destined to establish Chile as a top quality contender in the world."...Randy Ullom, Director of International Winemaking for Kendall-Jackson
The Rest of the Story
Randy is leading the charge on continuing to make better and better Chilean Cabs. The Calina 1995 has some pretty sophisticated touches...like 22% Merlot, 18 months in mostly French oak, fermenting each lot separately so only the superior can be used in the blend, etc. Best of all, the price is under $10.
1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile
Calina Winery (by Kendall-Jackson)
Composition: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot
Tasting Notes: No goatskin flavors in this baby. Recommendation: If you drink Cabs under $10, this is a "must try."
Wait a minute. This wine was bottled in January of 1997, but is supposed to have spent 18 months in oak...so it would have to go into aging barrels by about June of 1995. Yet this is a 1995 Cab, not harvested until well AFTER June of 1995. The answer?? In the Southern Hemisphere harvest is in the SPRING, so the Cab is ready to start aging by June.
Note—The Calina Chardonnay is covered in the November 17, 1997 WineDay, "A Dilly from Chile."
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.
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