Happy Gillmore

by Liz Caskey on August 25, 2009

Gillmore_Cabernet_FrancHacedor de Mundos, Cabernet Franc Reserva 2006

I will confess that this wine has been on my radar for a long time. For one reason or another, perhaps because it was Cabernet Franc which kind of came off as “uninspiring”, I put off trying it. On my last visit to my favorite wine shop, La Vinoteca, after the usual chitchat and an impromptu tasting, I decided to give this wine a go. Looking back, all I can say is, what was I waiting for?

Gillmore is a boutique, family-run business in the up-and-coming Maule valley, about 200 kilometers south of Santiago. This valley is producing knock-out reds including some unusual ones from old vines like Carignan, Cabernet Franc, and of course, Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. The young, 30-something Daniela Gillmore is the “juice” of this business paired with the talented winemaking of her husband Andres Sanchez. They really have invested all their creative energy into making this business an expression of their lives in Loncomilla, the micro region in the western reaches of the Maule.

The philosophy of Gillmore is to farm using century-old rootstock that has been grafted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Carignan, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Syrah . They use dry farming which depends on the winter rains and does not irrigate during the hot summer months. The stress placed on these old vines produces low yields of tiny, concentrated berries which produce naturally balanced wines. Also bare in mind that Loncomilla is 3 hours south of Santiago and the next to last vineyard heading towards Constitución on the coast even though summers can be scorchers, on average, cool breezes and lower temperatures abound.

This Cabernet Franc is the superstar of their top line, Hacedor de Mundos, literally meaning “Creator of Worlds”, a fitting name. Perhaps that is what they are seeking in each bottle–to create a new experience for you, the consumer. On the nose, even with only 15 minutes decanting in the glass (and a lot of swirling), this wine was immediately approachable, olfactively speaking. Cherry and berry aromas combined with a seductive whiff of spices and even a slightly minty/herbaceous note.  In the mouth, the wine was pleasingly crisp, fresco, as they say in Spanish, which characterizes a red with good acidity and vibrancy.

From there, the flavor went in crescendo. The tannins were firm yet not abrasive and with that acidity, it pulled through in a nice, long finish and good aftertaste. Balance, balance, balance–this wine certainly had it. It was fruity yet a little restrained without being a garden-variety fruit bomb. Quite frankly, it was one of the most delighful Chilean reds I have tasted in a while. If this is a compliment, my husband and I polished off the bottle over dinner and conversation, something that rarely happens these days (I have become a lightweight!). Most importantly, this wine had what I am always seeking: personality. It spoke not only of its origin and the positive energy with which it was made, thinking back after the wine was gone (and totally enjoyed), I felt like I had met a charming new friend at a dinner party with great conversation and a unique yet shared perspective. Not only did I remember him/her, I wanted to hang out again! 

 At US$16 (about 9,000 Chilean pesos), this is a total deal. Get it at La Vinoteca in Santiago or for those in the US, with a little searching, it is findable. Worth the effort to discover this grape variety, this valley, this place, this winery, and this amazing couple making it with all their passion.


omegaet August 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm

….not to get off point on your Gillmore post, but have you visited the Philippe de Rothschild SA, Maipo vineyards and tasted the Escudo Rojo? If so, do you have any comments?

Liz Caskey August 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I know Escudo Rojo, very lush. Haven’t been the vineyards. We tend to visit mostly Almaviva, the other Baron Phillippe investment in Chile, a J/V with Concha y Toro. Almaviva 2007, which will come out end of this year, is going to rock the wine world. I got to taste it in its infancy and it was already impressive.

omegaet August 26, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Liz….we have our last two bottles of ’05 Almaviva “resting” in our wine cabinet for a special evening…the ’06 seemed to have dropped down a notch or two, but still delightful.

We visited their vineyard and winery the day following our walking tour with you and were impressed with their facilities.

Back to Escudo Rojo….is there a reason to skip a visit to their vineyard?

In your case, have you simply not found time to check them out with so many other choices available?

Dave September 2, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I have been buying and enjoying Escudo Rojo for several months. I am usually able to get it for $14.99 a bottle, but recently, there have been some special savings of $2.00 offered at my local Publix in Key Largo. I stocked up on a case last week, since I think the wine is substantially one of the finer Chilean reds.

omegaet September 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Hey Dave…..after your last posting, I went shopping and found Escudo at Whole Foods for $12.99….guess the distributor is looking to push out some ’07. I decided to pick up six bottles and find a home for them in my bin. Glad to hear there is another fan!

LUIS November 15, 2009 at 4:34 am





Dave January 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Looks like Liz has shut down….nothing new since early Dec’09

omegaet January 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Liz is back!

Liz, what about Epu? Impressions?

Do you like it?

Do you think it is a fair price for the bottle?

Liz Caskey January 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Love Epu. The 2001 we still have half a case and the 2006 is delicious. I like the fact it only sold in Chile and is a taste of Almaviva without the price tag. Not sure what 2006 price is, I think it went up a little.

omegaet January 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm

We purchased a couple of bottles of Epu at El Mundo Del Vino at Alto Las Condes…final price US$38, which was a slight savings over the price at the airport.

We had tasted the ’06 earlier during our trip and wanted to bring a couple of bottles back home. They now rest along side of our two vinatges of Almaviva.

We are fortunate to have a friend who flies for AA into SCL and agrees to bring back an extra Epu for us now and then!

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