2005 King Premium
Chile: Maipo Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The King of Maipo
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Chilean producer Pengwine, and retrieve their King – a big red blend that the winery is nearly sold out of
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Pengwine
Wine Subject: 2005 King
Winemaker: Chris Millikan and Max Eyzaguirre
Backgrounder: Long-term Operatives will recognize today’s target. PengWine Winery of Maipo Valley in Chile was a big hit when we featured them here, and today we are proud to be featuring their flagship wine, the King. If the Maipo Valley is called “the king of red wine production” in Chile, today’s wine could be called the king of kings. With only 300 cases produced, and only a handful of cases remaining, the winery was kind enough allocate a handful of cases of the King for our Operatives to enjoy. Read Agent Reds tasting notes and corresponding Mission Report, below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet in color with great concentration of color right out the the wines to its edges. The wine shows perfect near-perfect through its deeper heart. On swirling, the wine appears bouncy and it settles quickly, leaving behind skinny and widely-spaced legs
Smell – Lush layers of dark fruit, earth, smoky meats, green pepper and blackberry bramble. This wine drives big and fragrant fruits of black currant, blackberry, burnt blueberry cobbler and black cherry. Follow-on earthen components include sweetwood, cigar box, subtle mushroom and stems.
Feel – Medium round and smooth at first, the wine moves fast across the front-palate settles in all around the mouth, gripping the tip of the tongue at first, and then the edges and rear and, finally, the inside of the cheeks.
Taste – Deep and dusky, this wine leads with flavors that almost perfectly mimic the aromas. Add to these tastes additional flavors of medium toasted oak, softest cocoa and tart cherry candy
Finish – This wine coats the mouth, leaving behind a slightly dryfeel, with flavors that tail off sweet then slightly more tart and dry
Conclusion – I love wines from PengWine. The extraction and flavor found in their wines are part Chilean characteristic and part signature PengWine. This wine, which contains an even split of Carménère and Malbec, is a boastful wine that makes a great pairing partner with richer meats and heartier dining fare. Once again, we are impressed by PengWine and we are very pleased to be able to bring you the final remaining cases of this, their flagship wine. Like other big PengWine offerings, today’s wine is a big and boastful one that delivers a rich drinking experience without overpowering your palate.
US/Chilean Pengwine Wines was conducting a winetasting at the bottom of the world, and I tagged along. It turned out to be an adventure.
Posing as a wine writer for a prestigious wine magazine, I was able to secure my cargo plane seat on this first-ever Antarctic wine event.
As I sat in the plane, I watched out the window as the airport workers clumsily loaded luggage and wine crates onto the planes loading ramp. After I saw my own luggage spill off the cart and onto the tarmac, I had visions of the wine crates suffering the same fate. Shortly thereafter, they did. Spilled wine made dark circles on the black pavement.
I dashed out of the plane with the winemaker and ran to save the wine. Many of the bottles were broken, but we managed to repack the remaining wine and load it safely onto the plane. After the winemaker conducted a few harried-sounding calls, he decided that he had enough wine for the expedition and that the trip was still on.
Two bumpy flights and a refueling stop later, we were out over some of the clearest water I had ever seen. The day was crystal clear and I could feel the excitement of the expedition members mounting.
The landing was flawless and the wine survived the trip intact.
We were greeted by airfield personnel (a single person) who accompanied us on our quest to find the natives. With wine bottles secured inside of parkas, we simply picked a direction and started walking. A short while later, a few dozen natives in sight, we stopped, opened bottles, poured and raised our glasses in a salute – to the penguins… Those on the glacier and those on the labels!
To learn more about this expedition, book a National Geographic cruise through the Antarctic – where Pengwine is an official selection aboard the ship.
Wine Spies Spy Photo:
The bottom of the world, where this wine tasting actually, honestly, truly, really did take place, can be seen in this satellite photo.
And, the lush farms, orchards and vineyards of the beautiful Maipo Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
We’ve heard this wine described as heaven in a bottle! This unique blend – 50% Carménère and 50% Malbec – PengWine brings you the best of South America with the King. Smooth and creamy, it lingers long in the mouth balancing the flavors typical of these two varietals with toffee and toasty oak. The wine rested undisturbed for one year in the best French oak barrels before being blended into this dark ruby masterpiece. When the new vintage of King is released, it again will be extremely limited. Its reputation already has grown to a point where, if you want some – and you will – you’ll need to jump on it. Limited quantity, only 150 cases available for sale in the US.
The King penguin is one of the rarest penguin species, with only 400 mating pairs left worldwide. So it is only fitting that we chose the King penguin as the namesake for one of our most exclusive wines, the premium King. King is a velvety 50-50 blend of Malbec and Carménère, two bold wines that when combined create an elegant and smooth wine that will please even the most discriminating dinner guest. PengWine King is a complex and sophisticated wine that pairs well with rich, savory dishes like braised lamb, Beef Wellington or Pacific salmon. King is also the smallest production wine at PengWine, so experience it before our limited supplies are gone.
The weather was lovely during the 2005 growing season. Summer throughout the Chilean countryside was very hot and dry. Chilean vines thrive in warm days that are cooled by the gentle ocean winds in the evenings. And the low Maipo Valley where PengWine grapes grow had the benefit of those continuous cool Pacific breezes – just 17 miles away. Harvest began in late March for the mid-season ripening Malbec and then at the beginning of May the Carménère was ready as it tends to ripen later in the season. We picked ripened bunches over the course of two weeks. All harvesting was done by hand to select only whole ripe bunches.
In the development of this wine, we looked to discard any unripe orcrushed bunches during a table selection process. Each variety was destemmed and crushed separately then placed in separate temperature controlled steel tanks. After the primary fermentation was complete, the wine had an additional two-week maceration time. Only the free flow juices were transferred to the barrels and malolactic fermentation was encouraged.This process smoothed the rough edges the wine might have had, giving it the final suppleness we were looking for.
About The Winery:
PengWine began with two friends from opposite ends of the American continent, Chris Milliken, from the U.S., and Max Eyzaguirre, from Chile. Their adventure started in 2004, when they hatched the idea and bottled their first vintage of 2003 PengWine. Since then, both men have chosen the best grapes from a boutique vineyard in Chile to create unique wines that you can enjoy without ever leaving your hometown.
Sub-Appellation: Maipo Valley, Chile
Harvest Date: Malbec – March Carménère – May
Oak: New French
Special Designation: Maipo Valley
Sugar: 2.04 grams/liter
Varietal: Carménère 50% / Malbec 50%