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Santa Rita Casa Real Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley 2011

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Santa Rita Casa Real Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley 2011

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Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
'Editors' Choice'
($85) Despite cool conditions in 2011, or quite possibly because of them, this is thriving. Aromas of cedar, earth, spice and berry fruits are stylish and comported. The palate on this perennially superb Cabernet is focused, intense and balanced. Flavors of spicy red currant and briary berry are thorough and finish with length on a mocha note. Drink through 2026.

James Suckling 93 Points
The aromas here show currants and roses and follow through to a medium to full body, with juicy fruit and ultra fine tannins and a delicious finish. Drink or hold.

Wine Advocate 92 Points
The 2011 Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon is a classical Maipo Cabernet with its minty aromas, cedar wood, tobacco, spices and anherbal twist. The palate is seamless, juicy with very good balance, refined tannins and a remarkable length. It's not easy to reach the level of the 2010, but this 2011 is almost there. Bravo! 42,000 bottles produced.

Wine Spectator 90 Points
($85) Plush and spicy, with rich-tasting, juicy flavors of dark cherry, raspberry and plum tart. Delivers sleek mineral and slate notes, leading to a finish that oozes with chocolate mousse and cream accents, with hints of mint. Drink now through 2019.

Tasting Notes
Ruby red color. Aromatics commanded by a bouquet of ripe fruit, black currant and blueberries, lend freshness and elegance exquisitely mingled with delicate notes of oak, tobacco and vanilla lend sweetness and persistence. On the palate, there is highly concentrated, intensely flavored and rich in tannins, with a full, magnificent body and a remarkable, sleek finish.

Food Pairings
Steaks, venison, game birds and ripe blue cheeses.

The Estate
Heritage and enterprise are hallmarks of Santa Rita, one of Chile's premier wine estates. Founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez in Chile's Maipo Valley, this historic property was among the first to pioneer plantings of European grape varieties in Chile.

In 1980, it was acquired by its present owner, Ricardo Claro, under whom Santa Rita has reaped the rewards of continuous investment, resulting in a period of impressive growth, during which the winery has consolidated its position in the vanguard of Chile's most successful and innovative estates. Initiatives include the highly successful launch of Santa Rita’s 120 Series of wines and a range of ultra-premium wines, notably the highly acclaimed Casa Real and Triple C. Wide-ranging enhancements embrace the purchase of choice new vineyards, plantings with top quality clones, improved trellising and irrigation, balanced viticulture, restricted yields, later harvesting, individual block farming, small-lot vinification, and an increased emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

Today Santa Rita exports to more than 70 countries worldwide. The property accounts for outstanding vineyards in Chile’s most important appellations - the Maipo Valley; Casablanca; Rapel; Apalta; Leyda and Curico - enabling access to diverse climates and terrain.

Last Year's Vintage (2010)
James Suckling 96 Points

Wine Advocate 93 Points
The 2010 Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon is the current vintage in the market during 2014, and it was a wonderful year for winemaker Cecilia Torres. She explained how that year she fell in love with oenology again. On top of that, the growing season and the weather during harvest were almost perfect, and helped to produce one of the best vintages of Casa Real. It has a beautiful nose of red currants, fresh fruit (blood orange), some spices and a clear note of mint that adds freshness and complexity to the wine. The tannins are sweet, very fine, with strong, clean flavors and the note of mint making a comeback in the long finish. Very complete and balanced, true to the grape and the place: pure Maipo Cabernet. It’s drinkable now, but still a baby. Drink 2014-2025.

Santa Rita is, of course, one of those huge wineries in Chile. It has a long history, as it was created in 1880 by Domingo Fernandez in the Maipo Valley. Today it belongs to businessman and entrepreneur Ricardo Claro, and they own about 2,200 hectares of vineyards in Limari, Casablanca, Maipo, Leyda. Colchagua and Curico. But that’s not all; Claro also owns Vina Carmen and 40% of Vina los Vascos in a partnership with the Barons de Rothschild-Lafite in Chile, and Dona Paula in Mendoza, Argentina. None of these are small wineries, totaling close to 5,000 hectares of vineyards between all of them. This is not a boutique operation either, as they produce around 24 million bottles of wine per year. I met with winemakers Andres Ilabaca and Cecilia Torres in Madrid to taste their wines and I also visited their impressive winery and museum, where I tasted more wines. I also had the chance to sample past vintages to check on the evolution of their top labels, especially the Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon. Casa Real deserves some separate explanations. I met with long-time winemaker Cecilia Torres, who is in charge of the Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine that made Santa Rita famous. Since 2009 she’s been dedicated exclusively to Casa Real, but she’s been in the winery since she finished university, so she grew up and learned everything there. The first vintage was 1989 and she was already at the winery. Casa Real was not produced in three specific years (1992, 2000, 2006) when the elegance and finesse was not there. It Is made from the fruit of 20 hectares, a specific plot within the 700 hectares by the house, which they identified when they realized the wine it produced was different, so they decided to bottle it separately. The vineyard was planted in the 1960s on alluvial soils. The grapes are harvested in three stages, produced with traditional vinification in small stainless steel vats (and this year she tried a small portion in 225-liter barrels), never looking for extraction. Temperatures can go up to 28-31 C during fermentation. Malolactic is in barrel, and the wine matures for 14-15 months in oak, and like many others, they are reducing the percentage of new oak used. Maximum production is 35,000 bottles.

Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
'Editors' Choice'
"After a rooty, spicy opening that includes aromas of tree bark, leather, marzipan and ripe berry fruits, this perennial winner shows superb balance, mouthfeel and overall integration. Flavors of cassis, cherry, plum, dry spice and chocolate finish long, lightly herbal and with complexities. Drink through 2020.

Wine Spectator 92 Points
"This rich style drips with chocolate mousse notes that envelop a concentrated core of dark currant, roasted plum and black fig flavors. Shows plenty of mocha and cocoa powder details as well, with hints of mint, all supported by fresh acidity. Drink now through 2020."

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar 92 Points
"Inky ruby. Dark berries, cola, vanilla and pipe tobacco on the highly perfumed nose. Lush and creamy in texture, offering sweet, floral blackcurrant and bitter cherry flavors complicated by a smoky nuance. Shows impressive energy on the finish, which features supple tannins and a whiplash of smoky dark berry fruit. Built to age; I'd stash this one away for at least another seven or eight years.

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