Montes Purple Angel 2005

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IMG_4375Chile has been viewed as a ‘value’ region for some time now, but I wonder if they will ever find their terroir. Certainly they have the ability, but so many wines they make are generic products designed for boring palates. Montes has been producing wine in Chile for decades and is considered by many to be one of the top producers. I’ve had several of their wines before and been generally satisfied, although never blown away. The “Purple Angel” is Montes’ top Carmenere bottling, a grape that is genetically related to merlot, but as far as I know, is pre-phylloxera.

Ok, so here comes the rant. Why is this wine 14.5% ABV? Why! Why did they pick the grapes so ripe that all the complex aromas have been burned off? This smells like Chile – plenty of funk, chocolate, game, cassis. Pretty heavy wood treatment rounds this out. It’s certainly powerful. But where is the excitement? This is a palate fatiguing wine par excellence. And, the sad thing is, it SHOULD be great. Perhaps I’m getting way too cynical, but when something is cropped as low as 1.9 tons per acre, hand picked and hand sorted I want something with more finesse and balance. This, on the other hand, is a monster with massive oak treatment and phenolic weakness. I could never drink more than a couple glasses of this, and it must be paired with something rich and salty. Otherwise you’ll find me passing this up for something with cleanliness and delineation. I bet they will raise the price on this too. I have to admit at struggling with the rating on this one as it still tastes better than so much stuff – but considering the price I’m going to be a bit harsh here.

$55 at BCLDB


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