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frontera paisIf you are familiar with the history of American wines you’ve heard of the Mission grape. This was the varietal grown by the early California missions that was quickly supplanted when Bordeaux varietals, which made more complex, age worthy wines, became available. The very same grape was the most widely planted varietal in Chile, where it was called Pais, until Cabernet and Carmenere gained popularity. It was recently discovered to be identical to the Palomino grape used in Spain to make Sherry. It has a long, glorious history but tends to be low in acidity and its high yield produces wine that lacks concentration. Plantings have been declining for years.

Concha Y Toro the huge Latin American producer is trying to revive interest in this grape through its Frontera label, its entry level label designed to appeal to millennials.

Bright red fruit showing cranberry and cherry compete with floral aromas—in this case a not-so-harmonious combination. On the palate, it is light weight and fruity with some pleasant spice notes and very soft tannins. There is some sweetness but it is not overwhelming. Thin and meager but well-balanced, smooth, and easy to drink. No doubt there is a market for this wine. It is superior to that horrid Beaujolais Nouveau that sells so well in November. If this is what it takes to get younger people to drink wine then so be it.

Score: 83

Price: $8

Alc: 12.5%

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