Tonight I opened a wine called Frontera, from Chile, brought as a gift to our Fall party. It’s a blend: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, from the Concha y Toro winery. I have no idea what year — the only date I can find on the bottle is 1883, and I really don’t think this wine is that old.
The winery name is interesting. Literally, it’s Conch (as in the shell) and Bull. But in the modern Spanish of the “southern cone” of South America, which includes Chile, Marta tells me that “Concha” is what we modern Americans would call “Pussy.” No, not the feline. I’m sure it didn’t have that meaning in 1883. It’s probably someone’s name.
Anyway, the nose on this thing is remarkable. It’s clearly a Cab, but there’s a huge fruitiness to the smell, tart cherries and fresh grapes, and that touch of dustiness that comes from the Merlot. Color is a beautiful Burgundy red, almost opaque in the evening indoor light, deep and solid. You get the dry bite of tannins from the Merlot as soon as it touches your tongue — only 15% of the blend, though, so it isn’t something that demands that you rehydrate your mouth intravenously after pulling in a mouthful. It’s fairly tart to the taste, but not unpleasantly so: lots of cherry, a hint of vanilla.
I like it. A lot.