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Los Vascos means “The Basques,” a reference to the legacy of Basque settlers who first planted vineyards in this region in the north of Chile hundreds of years ago. Here in the Colchagua Valley the Rothschild family planted their foothold in South America, and now the Los Vascos brand is the centerpiece for its high-quality, affordable bottlings.
Recently we tasted through some the current lineup, including two new bottlings under the Cromas sub-label, which is reserved for higher-end reds. Let’s give them the once over.
2020 Los Vascos Rosé – Made from 60% syrah, 30% cabernet sauvignon, and 10% mourvèdre. Pretty but gentle berry notes lead the way to light florals and plenty of fresh, acidic lemon. The finish evokes saline and grapefruit, a salty-sour character, touched with figs and a hint of baking spice. Really refreshing and a great value. A- / $14
2020 Los Vascos Chardonnay – An unoaked chardonnay, this bright wine offers a sizeable note of green apple touched with guava, with a light coconut element emerging on the finish. The lattermost element gives the wine a certain creaminess (and makes it at least feel like it’s had some oak), though there’s plenty of brightness and acidity to keep things lively throughout. Another solid value wine. A- / $14
2019 Los Vascos Cromas Carménère Grand Reserva – 100% carmenere from a challenging vintage. This has the classic structure one expects from carmenere, a bit doughy and gently beefy, with a layer of mild fruit that runs to blueberries and plums, with just a hint of sweet strawberry in the mix. Notes of dried herbs and turned earth punctuate the finish, which is pleasant enough, though fairly short. B / $22
2018 Los Vascos Cromas Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva – 85% cabernet sauvignon, 10% syrah, 5% carménère. Lots of acidity props this moderately tannic wine up, informing the currants and chocolate elements with some tart cherry notes and a bit of strawberry, particularly evident on the semi-sweet finish. Hints of rhubarb give the finish a further lift. B+ / $22