It struck me on the way home, sitting on a bench at Union Station (downtown Toronto), that Aurelio Montes is making wines in the three most advantageous places in the world of wine: California, Argentina and Chile, all he needs to make the quad-fecta is a winery operation in Australia and he's working all 4 hip hot climates. What I'd like to see is how he'd fare in one of the world's cool climate regions: Bordeaux, New Zealand, Oregon, Ontario, just to see if he could spin his usual gold there. But I don't think these regions are on his radar for the future, sure he admits Europe seems a great place to conquer, but I suspect that depends where. All these thoughts run through my hazy noggin as I am returning from the Splendido Montes tasting on this Monday evening, where we tasted 8 Montes wines in a structured tasting (4 Alpha M's and 4 Folly) as well as another 8 with dinner plus 2 extras for the reception (sparkling and Chardonnay) - all told 18 wines were sampled.
Mr. Montes proved to be a really eloquent and enthusiastic speaker. After apologizing for his "rudimentary" English (having been born and raised in Chile) he went on to speak (in English) for a good half-hour about wines, his history, etc. with nary a linguistic mistake - now granted he doesn't have a proper British accent but with his Chilean-patter he did exceptionally well.
We learned that Montes wines are sold in 110 countries and that their wines are the only Chilean wines on 20 Bordeaux restaurants wine lists. That Montes was started as a "retirement project" that has become more full time than most full time jobs he has had.
Started in 1987, Montes was the brainchild of Aurelio Montes and Douglas Murray, who wanted to set a new standard "of excellence for Chilean wine". From there the Montes name has expanded into Argentina (2001) under the brand Kaiken and now as a Californian Angel (2006) with wines being made with both Napa and Paso Robles fruit; "I was just looking for a new challenge," Aurelio admitted in his talk.
Memorable Quotes ... (to read more on the quotes, the wines and the meal - with pics - click here)
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