2014 was Cono Sur’s 21st birthday – it was set up by parent company Concha Y Toro in 1993. Although owned by Concha y Toro it is run (though not distributed) in a completely different way, from a different winery in Chimbarongo in Colchagua (the main wineries for Concha Y Toro are close to Santiago in Maipo).
There are a number of things that differentiate Cono Sur from the norm – the first is the commitment to sustainable viticulture – the whole business is run on an eco model – so that even the vineyard tours are conducted by bicycle!
The second is the estates concentration on Pinot Noir – whilst Cono Sur do make other varieties in 1999 the ‘Pinot Noir Project’ was started with the aim of producing not only the best Pinot Noir in Chile but also makes it by using Burgundian winemaking techniques.
It is still a large company – and whilst they make some very good entry level wines the focus here is more on experimentation and terroir than in many other large companies. We didn’t get to visit as much of the vineyard as we might have done having arrived quite late after getting lost on the way several members of the group were also feeling ill at this stage in the trip.
La Fonda Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Curico
Fairtrade – Fresh, clean bright and varietally true. Really good acidity and reasonable length and texture.
Los Gansos Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Fresh with quite a focussed nose, some lovely texture with some precision and length. Good value.
Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Suddenly much more interesting, really nice herbaceous aromatic fruit. Really bright and fresh with good length and texture.
20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Lots of asparagus and green olives on the nose, some minerality and texture. Fresh and bright this is undoubtedly well made. Personally I preferred the Single Vineyard – which makes it a bit of a bargain.
Los Gansos Gewurztraminer 2013
Lovely aromatic floral notes, fragrant and focussed. The floral and fruit notes are just lovely – just a hint of sweetness on the palate. Pretty good really.
Los Gansos Pinot Noir Rose’ 2013, Bio Bio
Lovely fresh style, quite appealing and commercial but very very easy to drink indeed.
Los Gansos Merlot 2013
Deep purple, quite plump and fresh. The fruit has some nice sweet notes without being over ripe. Good value.
La Fonda Cabernet Carmenere 2011 – Fairtrade
Quite pleasingly fruity, it does come across as being made quite commercial in style but that isn’t a bad thing at this price point. Good value.
Los Gansos Pinot Noir 2013
Ripe softly fruity Pinot with ripe black cherry fruit. Really very quaffable Pinot that does everything that is asked of it. One of the best value Pinot wines out there.
Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012
Fresh mid weight Pinot that looks and tastes exactly how it should. Not overripe, or green and stalky and the weight on the palate is pleasingly full. Savoury notes mingle with the bright cherry notes that finishes pure and long. Really very good.
20 Barrels Pinot Noir 2012
Pretty interesting – this is very polished and fragrant. It feels like quite a grown up Pinot with bright fruit and savoury notes now complimented by some wonderfully perfumed notes. Really good length.
Ocio Pinot Noir 2012
This is clearly still a baby, it’s tight and a little on the closed side, yet it has lovely fragrant and perfumed fruit with savoury notes and a little oaky spice. The tannins are silky and textural while the wine is long in the mouth concentrated and yet soft. Very good – i’d like to see it again in 2 years or indeed decanted for 3 or 4 hours prior to drinking.