Vistamar Gran Reserva 2008 (Maipo Valley, Chile)

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It's good fun tasting wines with a group of people. Often a bottle that I'm convinced will impress falls flat on it's face, and at other times something I consider to be a no hoper wins the hearts and minds of my guinea pigs. With this one I must admit I wasn't entirely sure which way it was going to go. Not many of the group had much experience of Chilean wine so I had even less of a clue what to expect....

The setting was certainly good though. We'd just arrived in Chapel Stile in the Lake District ahead of something of a flying visit to what is a very beautiful part of the World indeed. With my 7 guinea pigs assembled I opened this and got to work.

I'll admit that I made a mistake in not letting this breathe a little before letting people take a taste. It came across as a little austere initially. I put it down to being "on the road" and therefore away from my myriad of wine accessories and decanters. I've been making more an effort to travel light lately and taking a decanter and aerating funnel doesn't really help in achieving this goal.... Another thing which went against my packing light hopes was the sheer bloody weight of this bottle. It appears to have been intentionally made to be as heavy as possible with the lead centre piece not really helping matters!

The initial comments were, as you'd expect based on the above, a little negative. Most felt the wine lacked fruit. However, once it had time to settle down a little in the glass people's opinions changed. Whilst it still didn't win universal praise the people in the group who tend to go for Bordeaux style reds were the ones who liked this the most. I personally quite enjoyed it. It's not jam packed with fruit it did have some interesting notes of chocolate and coffee and the nose was pure spice rack. As far as Shiraz and Cabernet blends go it's one of the better ones I've had.

It's not a wine for a quick dinner with friends where you'll be pouring it immediately but it is a good wine to open with food and at home where you have the time and the kit to decant it and therefore enjoy it properly!

Image via Shutterstock. The wine is available for £12.50 from Smithfield Wines.