Passport Series™ Volcanic Red


Volcanic Red (Curicó Valley, Chile)
Passport Series™ Collection0
2015 Limited Release
bottled August 2015
14%  abv                                                                                         

Limited Release wines are special offerings sourced from different regions throughout the world. Because Limited Release wines are created from small lots of exceptional vintage grapes, they can never be replicated. 

PassportBottle_ChileThe Passport Series™ Volcanic Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, and Merlot. My review of this Limited Release wine takes place at intervals over the period of one year.  I examined four different bottles, all part of the same wine batch.  Each segment of the review was prepared without reference to any previous segment.  

The principal difference I observed over the year was the development of specific characteristics. The fresh, brand new wine was delicious, but flavours and aromas were somewhat muddled.  Over the year I was able to track the development of the wine even though that development was not dramatic.

I know many people who bring their wine home and begin drinking it right away. I know just as many others who lay the wine down for a period of months to a year.  The correct approach?  Wine is made to be consumed and enjoyed.  Whether you like to drink it as soon as you get it home, or let it age for a few months, then that’s the correct approach for you.  When you have a batch of 30 bottles, however, you can experiment shamelessly to see what works best for you.

August 2015

This is virtually straight out of the winery – bottled; brought home; opened and tasted immediately.

The Volcanic Red is a very clear dark ruby.  The glass shows pronounced legs/tears, indicative of a higher alcohol content.

A myriad of aromas, with alcohol prominent, included dark cherry; black raspberry; brown sugar; forest floor; and oak notes.  Full of promise!

Tastes were not nearly as pronounced as aromas.  Separate flavours were not readily identifiable, yet with an overall pleasant impression.  The wine had a short-medium finish with slight peppery notes, with an earthy component, something characteristically found in Pinot Noir.

December 2015

chile-vineyardsNo change in colour or clarity.  The watery rim is thinner, with substantial legs still apparent.

Aromas are quite straightforward:  rich raspberry; macerated cherry; cedar; chocolate; lush violet perfume notes; an overall sense of richness.

Tastes include a fairly prominent caramel/brown sugar; chocolate; dark cherry; blackberry. There is an underlying somewhat sharp tang, no doubt relating to a strong showing of acidity.  At the same time, there is a softness (likely from the Carmenère component) in both scent and mouthfeel, and signs of intensity in the flavours.

Medium bodied with a short-medium finish and white pepper notes.

April 2016

Colour, clarity and tears remain constant.

Aromas are of juicy, red summer fruits; chocolate; soft rich earth. Flavours have developed well and mimic the aromas.

Acidity and tannins have come into greater balance, providing a smooth, rich mouthfeel.

August 2016

chile-corksColour and clarity are constant.  The 14% abv is revealed in the coating on the inside of the glass.

At the one-year mark, the aromas are an array of juicy dark summer fruits–luscious, plump cherries; large late-summer berries; chocolate; intensely perfumed violet. Underlying all of it is a sense of the elevated alcohol level.  Woodland earthy aromas are fairly pronounced.

The predominant taste is fresh, ripe cherry; followed by dark chocolate; caramel/dark brown sugar; long lingering black pepper and nutmeg.

The wine is showing an excellent balance of acidity and mature, rounded tannins, with a luscious, velvety mouthfeel.

As the Volcanic Red presents at the one-year mark, it would be an excellent match for your favourite barbecued meats; grilled Portobello mushrooms (to pick up on those earthy tones); eggplant parmigiana; hard cheeses.  The complexity and smoothness of the Volcanic Red will allow you to bring it through an entire meal.  It will shine on its own on the patio.  During the continuing warm weather the Volcanic Red would benefit from 15 to 20 minutes refrigeration.  Excessive temperatures on the patio may interfere with the many layers of flavour and aromas in this wine, so take a moment to return the bottle to an ice bucket or the refrigerator for a short period before pouring the next portion.

Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
By Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier
August 2015 to August 2016

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