Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Felipe Tosso of Viña Ventisquero @Vinoteca, Farringdon, London

 Felipe Tosso in flight

Last night I was at a tasting and dinner run by Felipe Tosso, winemaker for Viña Ventisquero. The evening was dubbed 'the 'New' Ventisquero. Certainly the Ventisquero wines we tasted yesterday evening were not typical middle of the road Chilean. Balance, vibrancy and finesse ran through the ten wines as well as innovation and thinking 'outside the box'.  

Steven Spurrier and Felipe

Probably the most surprising wine was the 2013 Tara White (100% Chardonnay). This comes from a plot of vines in the Atacama Desert some 750 kilometres from the Ventisquero winery to where the grapes have to be transported. The vineyard is close to the Ocean, so is cool in the morning because of the coastal fog, which surprisingly makes this desert vineyard cooler than Casablanca. 

When I first saw the cloudy Tara White I assumed that we were being shown an unfinished wine until Felipe explained that the white Tara was unfiltered and so deliberately cloudy. The 13 Tara was delicious – a vibrant cool climate Chardonnay with attractive texture and zinging acidity. Felipe explained that they don't stir the lees until right at the end before bottling. Only 1200 bottles were made. 2011 was the first vintage and in 2011 and 2012 they included a proportion of Viognier. 

This delicious cloudy wine challenges wine drinkers' perceptions that wines should be crystal clear. I overheard one traditionalist at the tasting mutter something about a little bentonite fining...! Personally this cloudy wine doesn't worry me – it is good to be challenged, especially when this tastes so good! 

Other wines (actually the majority) that stood out: the vibrant and delicate 2013 Grey Pinot Noir from Leyda, 2013 Grey GCM from Apalta – a blend of 50 Garnacha, 25 Carignan and 25% Mataro (Mourvèdre) as well as the promising 2014 GCM, and the star red – the powerful, richly textured, vibrant and characterful 2004 Grey Carmenère.              

The 2013 Tara White is the cloudy wine on the right  

 2013 Tara White

A beatific Charles Metcalfe amongst a forest of glasses

An urbane John Downes MW and a worried looking Steven Spurrier 

Peter McCombie MW

Amy Wislocki – impressed by the 2004 Carmenère

John Downes MW – a career as a 
chat show host surely beckons..

Tim Hall iPadding

... and tasting


Hervé LALAU said...

Interesting as most wine competition using the OIV sheet ask the tasters to subtract points when the wines are not crystal clear.
I don't. But maybe this rule should be changed?

Jim Budd said...

IMHO The OIV sheet should be scrapped – a robotic way of assessing wine...