And the winner is...
Casa Tamaya Syrah Reserva 2009, Limarí
There are currently few countries that can match Chile when it comes to delivering elegantly savoury, peppery styles of Syrah at under £10. This floral, meaty red, with its spicy savoury palate and gently bittersweet finish, represents superb value for money.
Having started out life as a fruit farm, Tamaya diversified into winemaking in 2002, having planted its first vines in 1997. Initially, the transition was a tough one – coastal Limarí was relatively virgin territory for fine wines, and these breezy yet sun-soaked granitic slopes left little margin for error. Some of the early wines were disappointing in their blandness and contrivance. Initial interest waned; Tamaya drifted.
The turning point seems to have come shortly after the arrival of winemaker José Pablo Martín from Chocalán in 2006. A shift in direction and a newfound sense of adventure in the wines was noticeable – less risk-averse and all the more rewarding for it. This change was most noticeable in varieties like Carmenère and Syrah, both of which are now made at Tamaya in an unashamedly fresh, savoury style.
This eminently food-friendly red was made with a splash of Viognier, with half the wine being aged in oak barrels for nine months. The result is a blend of freshness and savoury spice together with a gentle hint of florality and bay leaf perfume.
In both this variety and this producer, Limarí has a new rising star.
Written by Peter Richards