Maker: Viña San Pedro S. A., Molina, Chile
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 8 out of 10
Gato Negro Merlot 2007 was an inexpensive find at a megastore wine shop. Its label reminded me of some of the great Trader Joe bargains I’d tried last year, but the wine itself didn’t quite measure up. It had an odd aroma that had woody licorice notes overpowering weak berry notes. The flavor was also a bit odd, with plum, herb, and chocolate notes. If this wine has a redeeming feature, it’s the long finish that brings out some spice, more pleasant berry notes, and robust tannins. Gato Negro Merlot wasn’t entirely unpleasant, but was lacking in typical Merlot characteristics.
We did find that this wine was helped by extensive breathing when half a bottle was accidentally left uncorked overnight. I was expecting the worst when I next tasted it, but the wine had actually improved a bit.
Viña San Pedro is a significant player:
Founded in 1865 by the Correa Albano brothers, Viña San Pedro is today the second largest Chilean wine exporter and the country’s third biggest winery. The winery and is located in Curicó Valley, where San Pedro owns one of the largest continuous area of vineyards in South America, with 1,200 hectares. In total San Pedro has over 2,500 hectares planted all along the Central Valley. Since 1990 the company has long term contracts and has been acquiring vineyards in Chile’s other main viticulture valleys, such as Leyda, Colchagua, Maipo, San Antonio, Casablanca, Elqui and Limarí. Today these vineyards provide perfect conditions for several varieties.
VSP is present in almost 80 markets on all five continents with its brands Cabo de Hornos, 1865, Castillo de Molina, 35°South, and GatoNegro. This wide brand portfolio allows it to target a great variety of consumers throughout the world.
Gato Negro Merlot won’t make our favorites list, but we look forward to tasting some other products from this Chilean winery.