Montes Alpha Syrah 2019
Producer: Montes Wines
Region: Apalta & Marchigua, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Grape: 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvigon, 3% Vigonier
Montes Alpha’s 2019 Syrah combined two of my favorite aspects of wine… Syrah and exploring new things. While I’ve had my fair share of Chilean wine and Syrah, I have never had Chilean Syrah. I figured, who better to try it from than one of Chile’s most well-known and beloved producers, Montes? While my experience with Chilean wine has been hit or miss, I couldn’t have asked for a better reminder of how great Chile’s wines can be. This bottle has the funk that tends to be associated with Chilean wine along with the oak and fruit to balance it out a little. Keep on reading to get a more detailed look into it all.
The grapes used for this bottle came from two specific areas of the Colchagua Valley, Apalta and Marchigue. Apalta’s surroundings provide for great soil and growing conditions with parts of the Andes mountains to its north and the Tinguiririca river on all other sides. Many of the vineyards, particularly those used for the Syrah in this bottle, can be found on steep, elevated slopes.
Marchigue is only a little ways over towards the northwest of the Colchagua Valley. The hills and slopes here are much lower and flatter compared to Apalta. While this bottle does take some Syrah from Marchigue, the notable grapes taken from here are the Viognier which makes up a small percentage of the wine.
Nose & Tongue
Chilean wine, at least from my experience in reading and talking with others, has a reputation for pungent bell pepper aromas and flavors. Some like it, some don’t, but either way, it does tend to make its way into a lot of Chilean wine. I enjoy it to a certain degree, but I am not a huge fan of overly pungent bell pepper notes. This bottle had just a hint of it, and it was enough for me to appreciate it and enjoy all the other man aspects of the bottle.
The nose was funky and savory with vegetal and herbaceous aromas initially. As it opened up more, the fruit and mild oak aromas become more dominant with calm hints of chocolate and leather.
As for the tongue, it was everything I found on the nose and more. It was herbal, meaty, and had a cola thing going on (in a good way). As with the nose, the oak came out on a little later, but in a pleasant and calm way with mild hints of leather. All of this was balanced by dark fruits over a couple of nights. This Syrah was big enough to savor and sit with for a while but not overbearing.