A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

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Wines for a Jack$on (Under $20) – Llai Llai Pinot Noir, Bio Bio Valley, Chile 2008

Llai Llai Pinot Noir 2008, Bio Bio Valley - Chile

Chile is one of the world’s most unique wine growing areas.  The high elevations and coastal proximity of the vineyards has helped many producers avoid the pitfalls of rot, insects, and vine disease.  Phylloxera is the world’s most notorious vine louse, and at one point in time, nearly destroyed all the world’s vineyards.  Nowadays, some of the best wines are made from the small amount of vines that survived the original onslaught of phylloxera.  To no surprise, the highest concentration of these old, phylloxera-free vines is in Chile, where the geography and cool climate protect the vines from any parasitic reprise.

The major wine appellations of Chile

Llai Llai, which translates to “wind’ in the native Mapuche language, refers to the coastal breezes that sweep through the vineyards in the Bio Bio Valley.  Produced entirely from Pinot Noir, the wine is aged in oak for just under a year, adding a touch of vanilla and some rounding wood tannins.  The rosy aromas are subtle, and eventually succumb to a meatiness within the glass.  The flavor of the wine is predominantly dried fruits with smoky notes of herbs, hickory, and mushroom.  Sometimes wines like these just need a little help to really show their true colors.  The sweetness in a tomato sauce, the creaminess of a goat cheese, or the juicy flesh of a roasted tenderloin are the kinds of foods that help bring out the balanced tannins and hypnotic aromas of a well-crafted wine.

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