Origin: Viña Santa Rita, Central Valley D.O. Chile
Taste guide: Medium bodied, plum, berry and currant fruit flavours, spice and pepper notes, oaked
75cl - 13% - screwcap
Santa Rita is one of Chile's most admired and innovative wine estates. Founded in 1880 it passed through a couple of owners before being taken in to the Grupo Claro some 35 years ago, since when it has developed into a modern world wide brand whilst retaining traditional winemaking values. Its most famous wine is the Santa Rita 120 range, and this Gran Hacienda brand is exactly the same wine, but with a label primarily for the restaurant trade.
Merlot was taken to Chile by the Spanish in the 19th century and produces superb wines in Chile's climate - particularly that of The Central Valley. The grapes for this wine were grown in vineyards across the Central Valley, all having a Mediterranean, semi-humid climate but with varying soil types. The skill of the winemaker, Carlos Gatica, is to marry the varying characteristics engendered by these different plots, to produce this top-quality end wine. Following a May harvest, the grapes were de-stemmed and crushed, then fermented in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures with regular pump overs. The final wine was aged in oak barrels for a short period prior to bottling.
This wine has a deep red colour, with violet refelctions and ruby hues. Fragrant aromas of fresh strawberry, plum and vanilla are complemented by a hint of dried herbs. Its slightly sweet well-rounded flavour, rich in fruity undertones, is enhanced by soft tannins and a pleasing note of oak. Very easy drinking yet sophisticated and complex. An elegant wine to be enjoyed on all occasions.
The 120 label, which is exactly the same wine, sells for up to £9.99 elsewhere - Binendwines' price for this label is just £6.50.