WHAT: During a recent tasting of eight white wines from Chile, the Cono Sur was the favorite among two dozen people. It’s a bright, crisp, refreshing wine with smooth citrus flavors and a hint of minerality.
The citrus flavors are predominantly lemon and grapefruit, and they lead to a long, smooth finish with a pleasant aftertaste. It’s dry without being too sharp. The fruit and acid are nicely balanced.
The grapes are grown in the Casablanca Valley on red clay slopes overlooking the coastal town of Algarrobo. The little town is famous for the old lighthouse featured in a drawing on this wine’s label. Pacific Coast breezes and mineral-laden soil produce the wonderful flavors in the wine.
The wine is aged in stainless steel and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The bottle features an easy-open twist off cap. Serve slightly chilled, but not cold.
WINERY: Cono Sur vineyards and winery was founded in 1993 with the idea of producing premium, expressive and innovative wines conveying the spirit of the New World. The name refers to the company’s geographic position. The wines are grown in South America’s southern cone, the western edge of which is Chile and the Andes Mountains.
The company harvests from 3,500 acres on 100 sites. It practices sustainable agriculture, integrated vineyard management and several carbon footprint reduction projects.
Cono Sur is known for its Pinot Noir, and was founded on the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in Chile. They also produce a limited release Pinot Noir called 20 Barrels, a premium Pinot Noir called Ocio, Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Carmenere Rose, Merlot, Carmenere, Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
GOES WITH: This versatile wine is a great aperitif and will be fine for summer sipping. It’s also a great food wine.
The night of the Chilean tasting I loved it with steamed shrimp and with barbecued chicken. The best pairing was with a grilled ginger-soy-lime-cilantro shrimp. The saltiness of the soy sauce and the sharp lime flavor really lit up the wine’s citrus flavors.
It would be great with light first courses, such as salad or seafood. It also will go well with white meats, light sauces and pasta with cream sauce, and with a variety of soft, mild cheeses.