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TalinayChardonnay was my great discovery for 2012, spending a lot of extra income finding interesting buys and asking reps to provide me samples to understand the many faces of this noble grape. While I am often introduced to newer and nerdier varietals, I was looking forward to one more yesteryear dalliance with an emerging Chilean wine region; an introduction to the Limarí Valley.

I had been dropped off a seven-fifty of 2010 Talinay Tabali Chardonnay from the D.O. of Limarí Valley in the north of Chile. Within the Coquimbo Region, Limarí Valley has a warm climate, where noble varietals, such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, enjoy cooling morning coastal fogs—the Camanchaca—that moderate temperature and preserve the inherit acidity as the afternoon sun warms up the area, allowing the grapes to ripen fully but evenly. The soil does the rest. The vines are growing in limestone heavy terroir, and these mineral roots are reflected in the wine.

I poured a glass of the medium-yellow Chardonnay stretching out its curvy legs (medium) that stuck to the edge of my glass. After a few spins I dropped my nose and took my first inhale. Exuberant and youthful fruit in the form of ripe pear, tangerine and lime, white flowers and crushed rocks manifested. On the palate it was dry and pure with medium-plus acidity and medium-body delivering Bartlett pears, squeezed limes and fleur de sel. There was mild interplay with oak that came across tastefully and rounded out the mouth feel. Suave.

An encouraging start from a relatively new (to me) D.O. of Chile, with the Talinay Tabali Chardonnay flaunting a bit of that Old World character (being compared to Chablis for its chalky soils formed by the ancient ocean beds that once washed over the Limarí, as we had talked about the geology in my WSET course) while retaining its enticing fruits and creaminess in the mid-palate. Sometimes you can have it all!

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