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Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
  • W&S90
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Winemaker Notes

A product of the red clay soils in the coastal Casablanca Valley, this Sauvignon Blanc is a pale yellow color with green hues. In the nose are fresh aromas of white flowers that combine with light grapefruit and mineral notes. In the mouth, it is crisp with a balanced acidity and a light saltiness that comes from the Casablanca Valley soild because of the Pacific Ocean's influence.

Serve this wine as an aperitif or paired with critic seafood dishes like ceviche and chicken dishes.

Critical Acclaim

W&S 90
Wine & Spirits

A juicy, ripe 2012, this balances sweet tropical fruit notes with tense, fresh acidity. It prickles on the tongue, calling for steamed clams spritzed in lemon.

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Cono Sur

Cono Sur

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Cono Sur, , South America
Cono Sur
Cono Sur Vineyards and Winery was founded in 1993, with the vision of producing premium, expressive and innovative wines conveying the spirit of the new world. Their name refers to the company's geographic position; it represents wines proudly made in South America's Southern Cone, on whose western edge lays Chile and its gifted wine valleys. Their logo is a freehand drawing of the silhouette of South America. Right from the start, Cono Sur applied new ideas and technology to winemaking traditional methods. Nowadays, Cono Sur's original claim, "No family trees, no dusty bottles, just quality wine," continues to inspire them towards quality, innovation, style and creativity.

South Africa

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance...

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance, South Africa has a surprisingly long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

South Africa’s wine regions are divided into region, then smaller districts, and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

Pinotage

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A distinctively earthy, rustic, and divisive variety...

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A distinctively earthy, rustic, and divisive variety, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape. A cross between finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, it was created in 1925 and surprised its inventors by being darker and more tannic than either of its parents. Pinotage at first seemed nearly impossible to tame, with its bold profile and wild flavors. While the grape has always had detractors, advances in viticultural and winemaking techniques have since helped to make Pinotage wines more palatable. Today it is a popular South African export both as a single varietal wine and in so-called “Cape blends,” in which Pinotage forms a significant proportion of a blend with other red varieties. It is grown very minimally outside of South Africa.

In the Glass

There is no mistaking the smell of Pinotage—common descriptors include tobacco, smoke, tar, bacon, licorice, hoisin sauce, and burnt rubber, in addition to more run-of-the-mill fruit like plum and blackberry. The flavors are bold, and tannins are firm but sweet—in fact, many Pinotage wines bear more resemblance to Australian Shiraz than to Pinot Noir.

Perfect Pairings

For a wine this powerful, food should be equally bold, and gets bonus points for mirroring Pinotage’s sweet and sour flavors. Classic smoky South African braai (barbecue) is the most obvious match, while grilled curry sausage, lamb biryani, or richly spiced beef stew would be equally welcome at the table.

Sommelier Secret

The name “Pinotage” is a subtle portmanteau: The Pinot part is obvious, but the second half is a bit confusing. In the early 1900s, Cinsault was known in South Africa as “Hermitage”—hence Pinotage. The somewhat less appealing “Herminoir” was also considered.

WAL471320_2012 Item# 120747

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