The Cousiño-Macul winery in the Alto Maipo, Chile has been around for over 150 years and have thrived for generations on making good wines, being technologically forward-thinking, and growing to meet international demand. While a pretty big winery, all of their fruit comes from their two substantial estates and they are willing to bottle some interesting stuff—a brilliant bone-dry Riesling, for one (though it is not available in MD anymore  =[ ).

Here’s some notes on a couple I recently tasted:

No grey area here.

Cousiño-Macul Sauvignon Gris 2011

Origin: Valle de Maipo, Chile

Composition: Sauvignon Gris 100%, 13.9% alc.

Appearance: silver-tinged pale straw

Nose: peach, pineapple, sharp mineral

Palate: rush of ripe pear, peach, and grapefruit with a a vibrant back-palate prickle and a sea-salt fade

Overall, a fascinating and refreshing wine. A well-executed example of a grape typically relegated to workhorse blending duty. Could see this as a nice pair for a good ol’ Maryland crab cake but it’s not too robust to compete with a simple salad, either.

Classic Chilean Cab

Cousiño-Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Origin: Valle de Maipo, Chile

Composition: Cabernet Sauvignon 100%, 14.2% alc.

Appearance: translucent ruby—cleanly filtered and crystalline

Nose: currant, plum, cinnamon, and vanilla

Palate: rich, black cherry; a lot of licorice throughout; a long leather/licorice finish through very firm tannins; a bit hot on the back-end

A New World Cab-lover-on-a-budget’s Cab. It’s evocative of smoking a cigar in a big burgundy leather wingback chair at some exclusive men’s club that you slipped into while no one was looking during your gig as a cocktail waiter. Despite its clarity, this is one dense wine. Not as hedonistic as, say, boutique Napa Cabs, but gives the people what they want for a pittance. You should be able to find this for around $18, or around $15 on sale.