Colinas del Itata Old Vine Field Blend 2015
Colinas del Itata Old Vine Field Blend 2015, 12.5%, Chile
(£7.50 down from £10 on multi-buy, Marks & Spencer)
The joy of great food and drink isn’t just that it’s delicious. It’s also that it gives us something to talk about and share. Stories, in short.
This wine is just that – a talking point. Just as much as the dish I paired it with on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen: Sabrina Ghayour’s fabulous spiced cod flatbreads with preserved lemon and avocado salsa, pul biber onions and harissa lime yoghurt.
This is the kind of wine to make you think. So if you thought Chile was all about predictable, international styles of wine – then this wine will knock your socks off.
It’s made in the deep south of Chile from hundred-year-old vines. It’s nominally a blend of Muscat and Corinto grape varieties. But no one really knows what Corinto is. No one can really remember who first planted it or where it came from. Corinto’s just the local name. They think it might be Chasselas (often associated with Switzerland). But the most important thing is – it makes great wine!
I visited the very vineyard this wine was made from a few years ago – and made a short video, which you can see below. This is Chilean wine like few of us know it. Traditional, centuries-old, with its own tradition, identity and heritage which are now being revived.
The reason I chose the wine wasn’t just for its story, though. It went beautifully with Sabrina’s cod flatbreads for four reasons. Firstly, it’s aromatic, so it matches the perfume of this dish. Secondly, it’s generous and fleshy, which helps soften the spice. Critically, it has very fresh acidity so can stand up to those preserved lemons. And, finally, it’s a really easy-going style, not at all pretentious and this suits the dish, which you can eat with your hands if you like, according to Sabrina.
A final point – I tried the dish with the 2015 vintage of the wine, which had mellowed and become richer over time in the bottle. We actually had the 2016 in studio. Both worked, but that slightly older wine was even better. So if you can find the 2015, go for that one. Equally, however, I’m hearing that the wine may have sold out after being featured on the show so it may be a case of waiting for new stock.
(Peter, 7/10, June 2017)