The 2015 Smoking Loon Merlot opens with aromas of cassis, toasted brioche, toasted graham cracker and a hint of mint. On the palate, blackberry, dried cherry flavors lead to notes of Italian roast coffee followed by toasted coconut on the extended finish. This versatile and lively wine pairs well with grilled beef in sesame dressing, grilled pork chops with sage-orange rub or roasted beets and rainbow carrots with a light sprinkle of nutmeg.
Chile’s natural boundaries are clearly defined. At the north end is the Atacama Desert, the south end is defined by the Patagonian glaciers, the eastern border is marked by the great Andes Mountain Range, and to the west is the Pacific Ocean. Together these distinct barriers help to maintain healthy growing conditions, protecting vineyards from pests and disease.
Stretching nearly 250 miles from north to south, Valle Central of Chile is one of the largest wine regions in South America. In this region, vines thrive in uninterrupted sunshine. As night falls, cold air descends from the snow-covered peaks of the Andes. This temperature swing provides the environment wine grapes need to develop fresh fruit characteristics and crisp acidity. Chilean vineyards benefit from the abundant water for irrigation which flows from the eternal ice caps of the Andes.
Chile’s unique geography and climate make for an ideal winegrowing region.
The 2015 growing season was hotter than the previous, leading to a very early harvest. Chile’s warmer than usual spring was followed by heavy rainfall mid-harvest in March that proved a relief for some producers. The higher-than-average temperatures throughout the season resulted in lower acidity levels. Careful harvesting of the grapes and meticulous blending allowed winemakers to achieve a good balance with each varietal, with Cabernet Sauvignon exhibiting deep red fruit characteristics with a hint of toasted herbs.