2 Brothers Big Tattoo Red 2007
This blend packs a powerhouse of fruit. Aromas of ripe berry fruit and plums set the stage for an explosion of fruit in the mouth with flavors of blackberries, black cherries, and cocoa that all come together on the rich and lingering, finish.
Alex Bartholomaus, President and CEO of Billington Imports in Springfield, Va., created this unique blend in Chile. Alex then teamed up with his brother Erik, an established world-traveling tattoo artist, to design a fun label that would remind the two of their mother. Erik designed the label and they named their creation Big Tattoo Red.
It was the Bartholomaus brothers' goal to honor their mother, who lost her battle against cancer in 2000. They wanted to do this in a creative and beneficial way. These fun wines boast a label with a Fleur de Lys, Liliana's favorite symbol.
A donation from every bottle sold is donated to the Hospice of Arlington, Va., and other breast cancer research foundations in the name of Liliana S. Bartholomaus. In an effort to expand this project even more, the brothers are now producing Big Tattoo White, a Riesling blend from Germany and a Syrah from Chile.
One of South America’s most important wine-producing countries, Chile is a reliable source of both budget-friendly wines and premium bottlings. Spanish settlers, Juan Jufre and Diego Garcia de Cáceres, most likely brought Vitis vinifera (Europe’s wine producing vine species) to the Central Valley of Chile some time in the 1550s. But Chile’s modern wine industry is largely the result of heavy investment from the 1990s.
Long and narrow, Chile is geographically isolated, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders allowed Chile to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation in the late 1800s and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted (as is the case in much of the wine producing world).
Chile’s vineyards vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt Current. While historically focused solely on Pisco production, today this area finds success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.