This sample for review certainly surprised me a bit when I opened a shipment of Montes Alpha. I was expecting the respected Chilean winery’s Cabernet, Syrah, and Carmenere. But there were two more bottles in the shipment. They included a bottle of their highly-regarded premium Carmenere Purple Angel and this 2006 bottle of Folly.

Why was I suprrised? The Purple Angel, which was the top scoring wine at a Palate Press grand tasting, sells for a suggested $65 a bottle. The bottle of Syran sells for a suggested $98. I found the wine online ranging from $79-$110.

I opened the Folly on my birthday. The name comes from some of the ridicule the winery came under when they decided to plant Syrah on the upper slopes of Apalta Valley. The grape had never been grown in the area before. Well, Montes Alpha gets the last laugh for sure!

This is a really dark purple wine with lots of spice and some definite pepper. It’s not for anyone who doesn’t like their wine really big and really bold.

This is a wine that’s only going to get better and better – but hey, Saturday was my birthday! 29 again! AND again! Ok, maybe more than a couple times!

But back to the wine. This was big and jammy with huge tannins and bite. It was still pretty darn good with some beef tenderloin I roasted Saturday night.

Another of the unique aspects of this bottle of good juice is the art of Ralph Steadman. He worked frequently with Hunter S. Thompson and has been doing the artwork for Montes Alpha.

This wine is a keeper if you love big Syrah and can afford the price point. It’s beautifully crafted, but just needs some more time in bottle I think. I decanted it for nearly two hours and it was wonderful, but with the big finish it’s easy to see how this wine will really come around in a few more years.

For most of us, getting to drink a wine like this is a real treat. But it’s also further evidence on price structure and the quality you get for the bigger buck!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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