Aconcagua Valley, Chile
Chile's hot, arid and barren Aconcagua Valley was considered unsuitable for growing wine grapes, but vintner Don Maximiano Errazuriz defied expectations when he founded Vina Errazuriz in 1870 and successfully planted clones of French grapes. Others followed his lead, but Errazuriz's winery continues to dominate output from the valley. This wine is named for the owner, and grapes were sourced from the Max vineyard. It's a blend of 85 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent petit verdot and 5 percent cabernet Franc. Hand-harvested fruit was sorted, destemmed, crushed and placed in open-top stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The grapes macerated for 18 to 25 days and aged 12 months in French oak barrels. In the glass, it exudes complex aromas of red and dark berries with spice notes. On the palate, the full-bodied wine has flavors of black currant, plum, raspberry, mocha, spice, fine-grained tannins and a core of good acidity. Decant 20 minutes before serving. Drink it with steak, spicy foods and aged firm cheeses. Buy it at: Costco and Martin Wine Cellar.