The Date and Time: Tuesday January 14, 2020 4PM - 5PM
The Event: Tasting of Escudo Rojo (Spanish for "red shield") reds with Chief Winemaker Emmanuel Riffaud of Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
The Venue: Fine Wine Reserve
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: Four red wines from Escudo Rojo are in the marketplace, with the Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (CSPC 13434, $17.95) and the Reserva Carmenere (14058, $17), both 2018, coming to Vintages February 8 and April 18 respectively.
The Quote/Background: We also tasted the 2018 Gran Reserva and the 2018 Origine with M. Riffaud who is also the Managing Director of the company's Chilean operations. Arterra's Eugene Mylnczyk MW moderated the discussion. For the sake of comparison, we also tasted the basic blended Escudo Rojo wines from 2012, 2013, 2014 (cabernet sauvignon only), and 2015.
The company makes wines from other grapes such as chardonnay, petit verdot, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, and syrah; their first vintage was 1999. They have over 1000 ha of property. Canada is their 10th largest market; SEA is number 1 and USA is number 4
The Wines: We began with a brief review of the company and its missions, and a review of the 2018 vintage. We began tasting the four older vintages first to establish a baseline before moving on to the 2018s.
The 2013 was last tasted by me for its September 2016 Vintages release. At that time I had said: "nifty red blend of carmenere, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and cabernet franc. It changes every year, but it is mostly one-third of each of the first three, with some franc finishing off the complexity. It has plenty of black fruit (black cherries, cassis, blackberry), plus mocha and toasted tones. It's dense, not yet ready, but will repay time spent in the cellar. Half of 2013 wine was aged in one year old oak barrels for a year. 14% ABV. Good price. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures". It was my fave of the afternoon today!!
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Escudo Rojo 2013 Maipo [my fave of the tasting]
-Escudo Rojo 2012 Maipo
-Escudo Rojo 2014 Maipo
-Escudo Rojo 2018 Gran Reserva Maipo [blend of 5 red grapes]
-Escudo Rojo 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Maipo [20% new French oak]
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Escudo Rojo 2015 Maipo
-Escudo Rojo 2018 Origine Maipo [new for 2018, all cab sauv from micro-parcels]
-Escudo Rojo 2018 Carmenere Colchagua
The Food: cheese and charcuterie board plus water and breads, crackers, bread sticks, et al.
The Downside: I had to leave at 5 sharp.
The Upside: a chance to connect with M. Riffaud
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.
May we all have 2020 vision.
Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://winewriterscircle.ca
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.