Pros: Great tasting, great price tag
Cons: It's obviously not the best Cabernet Sauvignon I have had
I have always been all about the inexpensive gem wines that I find after tiring (ha ha) but inexpensive research. Los Vascos, for three vintages now, has proved to me to be a consistent Cabernet Sauvignon with a fantastic price for the quality of wine in the bottle.
From Colchagua, Chile, this wine is from a program started in 1988 by The Domaines Baron de (Lafite) Rothschild. Its a classic Bordeaux shaped bottle, with a cream and red label giving all the pertinent information regarding the wine. The brief history about the wine and its producer is on the back, and the front shows the alcohol content (14%). South America has been doing some great things with wine, and putting really affordable price tags on them, so I was excited even before I knew that the legendary wine phenom of Rothschild was in on this product.
The 2005 starts out as I remember the 2004, pouring with ruby red color, almost shining at the edges. The nose is slightly oaky, and full of dark colored yet brightly represented fruits. I smelled mostly blackberries and raspberries mingled with a hint of earth that promised a full and multi-faceted wine.
When I took my first sip, the overwhelming component that stood out was that it was lightly sweaty, something that often is found in earthy wines and tends to make for phenomenal food pairings. There was also a deep fruitiness, again of dark berries and black cherries. There wasnt a very strong presence of tannins; instead this wine was a bit brighter with fruit, and not particularly dry. It definitely was different than many American Cabernet Sauvignon wines that I have tried, and not necessarily in a good or bad way-just different.
I let the wine open a bit after my first glass, since I was done with dinner and wasnt really sure what it would be like without my savory meal to complement it. The second try at the wine proved what I had hoped, and the earthiness softened considerably after about an hour. Although the balance and different layers of flavors were still there, the sweatiness was gone. I would definitely recommend opening this up at least 30 minutes before pouring it. I didn't find this to be so with the 2004, but with the extra time to breathe it's right back to what I remembered in the previous vintage.
As I said, this is a great food wine, and you should definitely serve it with your bolder recipes. I would pair this with osso bucco, beef stews, steak, and bold pork dishes. I think that this would be too much for any chicken dish that comes to mind (except maybe marsala). I would also use this with standard red pasta sauces, including red seafood sauces, but with nothing extremely spicy or creamy.
Im going on about this great affordable wine, and havent even mentioned the price!! I started buying then 2004 at $9.99, but now I have been finding the 2005 and recently the 2006 at $10.99 or $11.99. I have yet to find a California Cabernet under $14 (at least so far!) that I like better than the Los Vascos.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
For more information regarding this wine and the other Rothschild wines in the South American project, visit http://www.lafite.com/en/php/vins/7_2_1.php?id_chateau=43