No, I am not talking about the rock band or the God like entity form Transformers; I’m talking about Veramonte “PRIMUS, The Blend 2009,” from Colchagua Valley, Chile. Some of you might recognize Primus from its spot as number 95 from Wine Spectator’s 100 Best for 2012.
This wine will be of interest to all the fans of The Prisoner; Agustin Huneeus’ family owns vineyards in California that include the Quintessa and Prisoner brands. The Huneeus family founded Veramonte in 1990, and the winemaker for this bottling is Cristian Aliaga, who has a passion for making inexpensive yet high-quality wines. Primus sells for under $20.
We have potent chemistry going on here; the blend is 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 25% Carmenere, and 18% Merlot. The grapes are handpicked, double-sorted, and fermented with the skins, which gives the wine its beautiful deep purple color. Then, it sits for 14 months in 25% New French Oak barrels, which means that 25% of the wood used in the barrels is new. If “BOLD” is not a frequent part of your wine tasting vocabulary you might want to sit this one out. This is a powerful wine.
The nose is strong and enjoyable–be warned my strong sends some of you running from the room–spicy with lots of black fruit. The taste was wonderful, with strong, well-behaved tannins. I’m not saying you would need to let it breathe or decanter as I’m not even sure it would help, this is a muscular wine. Red berries splash across the palate, and again the spice. The French Oak gives the Primus a nice finish.
This wine rocks hard like its musical name-sake, but with more focus than the funky jives of Les Claypool. An excellent value, you can drink it any time from now until 2015. With 16,000 cases made you should be able to put down the Pork Soda and find your own “Primus” to enjoy.
Post Script; the Story “Wine Goes off the Deep end” got several responses. A woman wrote that the Spanish white wine “Sketch” made by Rias Baixas has always been fermented and aged under the sea. She included a link to wine folly.com which talked about the process. It was a great read check it out.
I also heard from a Bourbon aficionado that Trey Zoeller maker of Jefferson’s Bourbon has a new Bourbon called “Ocean” which is aged on a refitted 120 foot Russian fishing trawler. I understand the bourbon was hauled around the Caribbean for a few months in oak casks. The whiskey turned almost black, was hugely spicy with lots of licorice and nutmeg, oh and tasted great!