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  • Sunday, October 13, 2013

Viña Errázuriz Wine Tasting with Francisco Baettig

Viña Errázuriz logo
On , I attended an exclusive invite-only wine tasting with Francisco Baettig, winemaker at Viña Errázuriz of Chile. The event was hosted by iYellow Wine Club on the rooftop of Soho House Toronto.

This was my first time visiting Soho House, and I must say that this place is quite discreet with the lack of signs, sitting at the corner of Adelaide and Simcoe. I ended up walking once around the building before realizing it was the venue. I also arrived there a little late due to a prior commitment and came in to Francisco speaking to attendees about Errázuriz's Max Reserva line of wines.

I was able to catch up to the rest of group rather quickly by tasting only two of Errázuriz's entry-level Estate wines (for some reason the Sauvignon Blanc did not show up). Neither of the Estate wines were interesting for my palate, but they were good for what they are - basic, entry level wines that will please many palates. Going up a notch is the Max Reserva line, featuring hand-picked grapes and higher-quality control standards. The results from this extra care can be seen in the Savvy and Syrah, while not so much in the Cab Sauv - you can see my wine reviews below.

Francisco Baettig at Viña Errázuriz Tasting in Toronto

Last and definitely not least, Francisco introduced the "Icon Series" wines. Once again the grapes were all hand-picked, but the grapes are now inspected twice on the sorting table, and all were aged in new French oak barrels. I'm sure all of this contributed to the super-premium price. All three Icon Series wines were beautiful, as you will see from my notes.

Viña Errázuriz was founded by Don Maximiano Errázuriz in 1870 in Aconcagua Valley, 100 kms north of the capital city, Santiago. Recognizing that the valley provided ideal weather and soil conditions for grape growing, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France. Today, through much perseverance, we have world-class vineyards in the Aconcagua Valley. The Errázuriz family is quite famous in Chile, producing four Presidents, two Archbishops of Santiago, and countless other men (yes, only men) who were involved with the country's social, cultural and political affairs that helped develop and shape the country we see today. The Founder's Reserve (below) is fittingly named in honour of Don Maximiano.

Francisco has been Chief Winemaker at Errázuriz since 2003 and was awarded 2011 Winemaker of the Year by the Chilean Guild of Food & Wine Writers. Prior to Errazuriz, he was a flying winemaker at various wineries in France and U.S.A.. In Chile, he was the winemaker at Viña Santa Carolina and Casa Lapostolle. Mr. Baettig also helped pioneer the introduction of Syrah to Chile, which is evident in both Syrahs I tasted on this night.

The first 5 wines can be readily found at the LCBO, while the last 3 are Icon Series wines and are quite rare to find at the LCBO. However, you can try your hand at ordering these three premium wines via the agent, Philippe Dandurand Wines.

Francisco Baettig and Angela Aiello

Tasting Notes:
ERRÁZURIZ ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2012 - Casablanca Valley (#318741) (XD) - $12.95
Medium-high intensity aromas that show grassy, herbal, lime and tropical fruit notes. Medium-full bodied on the creamy palate with spice, orchard fruit and pear flavours. Vibrant acidity on the mid-palate and finishes hot. Score: 86 pts

ERRÁZURIZ MAX RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Aconcagua Valley (#273342) (XD) - $15.95
Effervescent gooseberry, herbal, grass and guava aromas. Crisp mouthfeel with good aroma replays. Has bright acidity for pairing with food and a lengthy, tart finish. Score: 88 pts

ERRÁZURIZ ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2012 - Aconcagua Valley (#226696) (XD) - $13.95
Medium intensity aromas of smoke, earth and beetroot. Light-bodied with notes of plum, cran-raspberry, strawberry and oak on the palate. Good, round tannins. Finish is short and very hot. Score: 87 pts

ERRÁZURIZ MAX RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Aconcagua Valley (#335174) (XD) - $18.95
Also contains 9% Cab Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. Low intensity aromas of pepper, cassis and blackcurrants. Simple red and black fruit flavours on a medium-full bodied frame. Soft dusty tannins and a short finish. Was expecting better. Bad bottle/batch? This red wine didn't appeal to anyone I spoke to. I wouldn't mind tasting this again. Score: 85 pts

Wine Review of 2011 Errázuriz Max Reserva Syrah

ERRÁZURIZ MAX RESERVA SYRAH 2011 - Aconcagua Valley (#614750) (XD) - $18.95
Very nice black pepper, herbal, eucalyptus aromas. Full-bodied with nice aroma replays. Well-balanced with integrated tannins and very approachable. Hints of milk chocolate on the medium-length finish. My 2nd favourite wine of the evening. Score: 89 pts

Wine Review of 2008 Errázuriz La Cumbre

ERRÁZURIZ LA CUMBRE 2008 - Aconcagua Valley (#) (XD) - $89.95
Containing 97% Syrah and 3% Petit Verdot, this red wine features very nice and intense red, black and blue fruit aromas, plus cedar and vanillan. Full-bodied with mouth-watering acidity, aroma replays come through on the palate along with some spice notes. Tannins are like velvet, while the finish is long with notes of eucalyptus. Yum! This was my wine of the night. Score: 92 pts

Wine Review of 2008 Errázuriz Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve

ERRÁZURIZ DON MAXIMIANO FOUNDER'S RESERVE 2008 - Aconcagua Valley (#) (XD) - $79.95
Blend of 84% Cab Sauv, 8% Carménère, 5% Syrah and 3% Petit Verdot. Intense blackcurrant and cassis aromas from the glass. Full-bodied with firm tannins that are still a bit tight. Cedar and dark fruits on the palate. Cellar 3+ years and has potential to reward up to 10 years later. Score: 92 pts

Wine Review of 2010 Errázuriz Kai

ERRÁZURIZ KAI 2010 - Aconcagua Valley (#) (XD) - $144.95
Mostly Carménère with 4% Petit Verdot. Medium-high intense aromas of roasted pepper and black pepper. Full-bodied with more roasted pepper notes on the palate, with some nuances of milk chocolate and black currant. Dusty tannins are integrating nicely. Finish is long and smooth. Delicious. Score: 91 pts


  1. Such a great evening! I got lost too, though that place was pretty popular so I guess quite a lot of people find it!


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