2005 Montes Alpha "Apalta" Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley (Chile)

SKU #1036770

89(+?) points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(includes 15% merlot) Medium red. Cherry and raspberry aromas are complicated by sexy oak spices, rose and licorice. Fresh and nervy, with vivid red fruit flavors, silky texture and slow-building sweetness. The long finish leaves a strong note of vanilla behind. I suspect that this will absorb the oak with a couple of years' patience." (Mar/Apr 08)

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Price: $14.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/20/2008 | Send Email
This is simply one of the most consistently delicious cabernets under $20. Blended with 10% merlot, aged in French oak for 12 months, and coming from Montes’ famous “La Finca de Apalta” estate, which is responsible for the best fruit they produce, this is a very serious wine for such a small price tag. The nose is packed with licorice, fresh mint and a touch of sandalwood. The French oak is not shy here, adding layers of caramel toast and spice cake. Darkly fruited with bushels of plum and dried currant, this is sweet yet savory with a lasting note of tobacco. The wine comes off as powerful, intense; it is not shy about what it has and likes to show it off. Buy this instead of one of the top Napa cabs and go buy a tank of gas.

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- Located on the western coast of South America and bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes to the East, the Chilean wine-growing climate is similar to that of California's Napa Valley and Bordeaux. The Chilean wine industry is known for being consistently free of phylloxera, but political and economic unrest has brought its own source of disorder. The recent establishment of a free market has resuscitated the wine industry, and significant investments have been made, switching the economic focus from domestic production to exports. Chile produces roughly a quarter of the wine Argentina produces, and is known for single-varietal exports, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. It's a popular region in the U.S. known for inexpensive and tasty wine. Click for a list of bestselling items from Chile.