On the Road with the Grape Guy

Escudo Rojo - Baron Philippe de Rothschild in Chile

06 Aug 2021

(May 2021) ... A fun wine tasting with Emmanuel Riffaud, winemaker of this Rothschild endeavor in Chile, started in 1999. Ironically, Riffaud has been with the Rothschild brand since 1999 when he was a member of the Mouton Cadet technical team - he then moved to Chile in 2008 and, over the course of 7 years, became the managing director of the Chilean operation in 2015.Emmanual 1

Quoting his philosophy (which parallels the company philosophy) ...
"Always quality over profitability" - Emmanuel Riffaud

As mentioned, the Escudo Rojo project began in Chile in 1999 and if you are wondering about the name, its origin are quite natural when the dots are connected - the name is passed through German "Rote Schild" to Spanish “Escudo Rojo” meaning “Red Shield”.

“We must over deliver in the bottle because we are Rothschild" - Emmanuel Riffaud

Emmanual 2Today the company owns 1,000 plus hectares in Chile, grows eight grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah - is sold on all five continents of which Canada lies 10th in its top 10 markets behind Japan (1), USA (4), France (5), Brazil (8) and the UK (9).

The wines tasted today were mostly from the 2019 vintage and ranged from Chardonnay to Carmenere and finally a very special 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Wines ...
(scoring is out of 5 stars and appear at the end of the tasting note)

Escudo Rojo 2019 Chardonnay Reserve
($17.95 - #17617)
50% of this wine sees oak influence for 6 months (25% new) - starts with a nice salty minerality while adding pear, apple, lemon, green melon and floral - there's even a richness on the palate of guava, mango, pineapple, plus vanilla and hazelnuts - it's quite intense, but tasty ... If the acidity were a little more elevated to cut through all that sweet fruit and richness the score would be a little higher.  (*** ½)

Escudo Rojo 2019 Carmenere, MAPU ReservaEmmanual 3
($13.95 - #19242)
This Carmenere seems a tad on the “under-ripe” side with an herbaceous, green pepper and herbal note that permeates the entire wine ... It comes across fresh, due to the acidity, but the fruit is quite tamped down at the moment and produces a peppery kick ... As it opens touches of blueberry, cassis and black pepper do emerge; but you never really get rid of that herbal essence.  (*** ½)

Escudo Rojo 2019 Carmenere Reserva
($17.95 - #14058)
When compared with the wine above (MAPU) this shows a more toned-down herbal / herbaceous character with black cherry, and dark plum fruit plus smoky-vanilla and Christmas spices across the tongue. Fresh, lively and a much more approachable Carmenere ... On the finish coffee meets blackberry and black cherry with good length. (*** ½+)

Origine Wine CSEscudo Rojo 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Origine
($30.00 - #17928)
This is a special cuvee of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the most storied part of the vineyard. It spends 12 months in barrel (25% new) with additional resting in bottle for another year. Lovely expression of Chilean Cabernet with plenty of minty notes on the nose along with black cherry - the palate is delicate with that mint, but loads up on blackberry and black cherry along with a lovely note of chocolate on the finish. Fresh, long and elegant.  (****+)


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