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Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2008

Merlot from Chile
  • RP90
13.5% ABV
Other Vintages
  • JS91
  • WS90
  • RP89
  • RP90
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3.9 16 Ratings
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3.9 16 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Deep violet-ruby-red color. Very fruity wine with aromas of plums, blackberries, and black currant, accompanied by intense notes of caramel, chocolate, and vanilla. Soft, ripe tannins lend good structure and balance.

Pairing Suggestion: Drink with red meats, white meats, pastas, game birds, and cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Cocoa/chocolate nuances; black currant and cassis, smooth texture, some elegance, lengthy.
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Santa Ema

Santa Ema

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Santa Ema, South America
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Over the years, Santa Ema has been recognized by the most important national and international organizations and has earned numerous medals in competitions such as the Concours Mundial de Bruxelles and distinctions in the prestigious international trade magazines. It was recently added to Wine Spectator's list of Top 20 World's Finest Value Brands, Wine Advocate rated four Santa Ema wines above 90 points, and Wine & Spirits named it Value Winery of the Year. But for Santa Ema, the most important distinction of all is the preference of its consumers around the world to appreciate the work of three generations dedicated to the production of consistently high quality wines.
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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.

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An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

RPT49456398_2008 Item# 106614