When Winemakers come to NYC to present their wines it’s always such a delight. I recently sat down to lunch with Brett Jackson, of Valdivieso Winery, which started off as a sparkling wine producer and now makes some incredible red wines to0! We enjoyed a beautiful lunch at Union Square Cafe and I had the pleasure of tasting through some of the top reds Brett Jackson produces.

Brett is originally from New Zealand and began making wine there in 1990. He then went on to continue his career at wineries in Napa, California as well as South Africa, and France. He’s the Chief Winemaker and plays a crucial role at Viña Valdivieso! 

“The winery itself dates back to 1879 when  Alberto Valdivieso founded Champagne Valdivieso. This was the first company in Chile and all of South America to produce sparkling wine. More than one hundred years later, in the late 1980s, the company expanded in a new direction when it began the production of still wines, as Viña Valdivieso, at their Curicó Valley winery in Lontué. Valdivieso wines have since had great success in major world markets and achieving the highest honors in international competitions. These achievements are the result of an ongoing commitment to producing superior quality wines that are both distinctive and attractive.” -www.valdiviesowines.com.

The lineup of wines paired beautifully with our selection of Fried Calamari, Beef Carpaccio, Lamb Chops, and Cheese Selection. I really enjoyed this tasting and think that wines of Chile although becoming more popular here in the USA, need more attention. The prices are for the most part very attractive, and the quality you receive is amazing. These wines range from moderate prices to higher end, but every sip is worth it! I enjoyed the following wines while chatting with Brett about his successful wine career and the quality of the wines he makes.

2014 Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari- From the Limari Valley in Chile comes this striking red wine. Made from Syrah and full of intensity, this wine is smooth and delicious. Bright fruit forward notes of cherry, black currants, and spice will awaken your senses, while the seductive flavors and smooth tannins keep you coming back for more. The grapes are hand-picked to ensure quality in the wine, which is also why it can benefit from some cellar aging. My thing is to always buy two… one to drink now, and one to save for a few years down the road. I enjoyed this with the beef carpaccio as well as the lamb chops and think that the complexity in this wine is very suitable for red meats as well as grilled flavors, including vegetables. $45

2014 Caballo Loco Grand Cru Apalta- From the Colchagua Valley of Chile, this wine is made of 70% Carmenere and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bunches are carefully picked and hand sorted to ensure quality, before undergoing 18 months in French oak. It’s a bright wine with intense notes of blackberry, plums and black pepper. On the palate, it’s elegant with some nice spice notes, smooth tannins, and a long finish. This wine will easily pair well with game meats, duck, as well as a hearty risotto! $47

2015 Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon-  This single vineyard cabernet is quite aromatic with notes of cherry, spice, flowers, and some herbal notes. On the palate, it’s lovely with nice acidity, full body, and smooth tannins. There are nice spice notes, which come from the maturation in French oak barrels 12 months. I really enjoyed this wine with the carpaccio and the Vermont cheese selection. $25

2010 Valdivieso Éclat Vigno- Made from Carignan and Mourvedre grapes, this wine comes from carefully picked and de-stemmed grapes. It’s a dark and intense wine with mixed spice notes, fresh fruit, and purple floral aromas. It’s a nicely structured wine with a lot to offer and unique pairing ability. It’s full body, soft tannins, and bold flavors make this wine beautiful with meats, but I think it really shined with creamy cheeses! $26

Have you tasted wines from Chile? Well, whether you’re an enthusiast, expert, or novice, you really should go to your local wine store and try to find Valdivieso! Brett Jackson produces some incredible wines that are pairing-friendly, diverse, and truly something special.