Wine Tasting-The Top Chilean Cabernets (and one ringer)
Introductory Comments by Orley Ashenfelter
This is a comparison of the top Chilean cabernet sauvignon wines, with one ringer thrown in from California to provide a benchmark. Chile is known for reasonably priced red wines. But in the last few years there has also been an attempt to produce handcrafted wines from outstanding low-yielding vineyards, using international wine making technology. A Good Place to Try the Wines: Café Atlantico, Washington, D.C.: A good place try many of these wines is an outstanding restaurant in Washington, D.C., Café Atlantico, which is essentially a Nouvelle Latin American inspired place with a fabulous Latin American wine list. Joint Ventures: Some of these wines are joint ventures with European (Rothschild) or American (Mondavi) firms. Others use outside consultants, while some depend on local expertise. Prices: Prices are high for these wines, and the wines can be hard to obtain. None of the wines sells for less than $40 (with one exception) and many are more expensive. A key question is whether the quality of the wines justifies the prices. Wine Writer Evaluation: Many of these wines have met with remarkable approval from the wine press. See the notes below for the ratings I could find. The Wines:

Almaviva 1997 ($70). This wine is the result of a joint venture between the Concha y Toro firm and the Mouton's Rothschild family. Parker rated this wine a 91, and provided the usual comparison to black currants, blackberries and other fruits and nuts.

Clos Apalta 97 ($60). Crafted by French consultant Michel Rolland, this is the top wine from Casa Lapostolle. I found this the most difficult wine to obtain. Also rated in the 90's by Parker, this one is called a "triumph of wine-making."

Montes Alpha M 98 ($55). This wine seems to be a product of the Montes group and I have found no indication of an outside consultant being used.

Sena 97 ($40). This wine is a result of a collaboration between the Chilean Chadwick family and the Californian Mondavi family. This is the 3rd joint venture (the Italian Frescobaldi and French Rothschild ventures are the other two) the Mondavi family has developed.

Cousino-Macul Finis Terrae 96 ($25). This is the least expensive wine in the tasting. It was included to provide a comparison of the top wine from the Cousino-Macul (a well know, large producer) wine with the others.

Gallo Northern Sonoma Estate 96 ($50). This is the ringer wine. It is the top of the line wine made by the Gallo family in their astounding new estate in Sonoma. This wine was the winner of the monster tasting of the top 1996 California cabernets (see the results at, tasting no. 35), and it bested the likes of Harlan Estate, Screaming Eagle, and the like. In order for the high Chilean prices to make sense the wines should, on the whole, be at the same quality level as this sleeper California cabernet.

WINETASTER ON 11/06/00 WITH 8 JUDGES AND 6 WINES BASED ON RANKS, IDENT=N Copyright (c) 1995-2000 Richard E. Quandt

FLIGHT 1: Number of Judges = 8 Number of Wines = 6
Identification of the Wine: The judges' overall ranking:
Wine A is Sena 1997 tied for 2nd place Wine B is Clos Apalta 1997 ........ 1st place Wine C is Almaviva 1997 tied for 2nd place Wine D is Montes Alpha M 1998 ........ 5th place Wine E is Gallo Northern Sonoma Estate 1996 ........ 4th place Wine F is Cousine-Macul Finis Terrae 1996 ........ 6th place
The Judges's Rankings
Judge Wine -> A B C D E F Bob 2. 3. 1. 5. 4. 6. Grant 1. 5. 4. 3. 2. 6. John 2. 1. 3. 5. 4. 6. Orley 2. 1. 4. 5. 3. 6. Burt 5. 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. Frank (alt) 2. 1. 3. 5. 4. 6. Ed 6. 4. 2. 3. 1. 5. Dick 2. 5. 3. 1. 6. 4.
Table of Votes Against Wine -> A B C D E F
Group Ranking -> 2 1 2 5 4 6 Votes Against -> 22 21 22 30 28 45
( 8 is the best possible, 48 is the worst)

Here is a measure of the correlation in the preferences of the judges which ranges between 1.0 (perfect correlation) and 0.0 (no correlation):
W = 0.3696

The probability that random chance could be responsible for this correlation is quite small, 0.0113. Most analysts would say that unless this probability is less than 0.1, the judges' preferences are not strongly related. We now analyze how each taster's preferences are correlated with the group preference. A correlation of 1.0 means that the taster's preferences are a perfect predictor of the group's preferences. A 0.0 means no correlation, while a -1.0 means that the taster has the reverse ranking of the group. This is measured by the correlation R.
Correlation Between the Ranks of Each Person With the Average Ranking of Others
Name of Person Correlation R John 0.8117 Frank (alt) 0.8117 Bob 0.7714 Orley 0.5885 Burt 0.3479 Grant 0.0857 Dick -0.2000 Ed -0.3189

The wines were preferred by the judges in the following order. When the preferences of the judges are strong enough to permit meaningful differentiation among the wines, they are separated by -------------------- and are judged to be significantly different.
1. ........ 1st place Wine B is Clos Apalta 1997 2. tied for 2nd place Wine A is Sena 1997 3. tied for 2nd place Wine C is Almaviva 1997 4. ........ 4th place Wine E is Gallo Northern Sonoma Estate 1996 5. ........ 5th place Wine D is Montes Alpha M 1998 --------------------------------------------------- 6. ........ 6th place Wine F is Cousine-Macul Finis Terrae 1996 We now test whether the ranksums AS A WHOLE provide a significant ordering. The Friedman Chi-square value is 14.7857. The probability that this could happen by chance is 0.0113 We now undertake a more detailed examination of the pair-wise rank correla- tions that exist between pairs of judges. First, we present a table in which you can find the correlation for any pair of judges, by finding one of the names in the left hand margin and the other name on top of a column. A second table arranges these correlations in descending order and marks which is significantly positive significantly negative, or not significant. This may allow you to find clusters of judges whose rankings were particularly similar or particularly dissimilar. Pairwise Rank Correlations Correlations must exceed in absolute value 0.89 for significance at the 0.05 level and must exceed 0.83 for significance at the 0.1 level Bob Grant John Bob 1.000 0.371 0.771 Grant 0.371 1.000 0.257 John 0.771 0.257 1.000 Orley 0.600 0.371 0.943 Burt 0.486 -0.143 0.600 Frank (alt) 0.771 0.257 1.000 Ed 0.086 0.086 -0.143 Dick 0.086 0.257 -0.143 Orley Burt Frank (alt) Bob 0.600 0.486 0.771 Grant 0.371 -0.143 0.257 John 0.943 0.600 1.000 Orley 1.000 0.486 0.943 Burt 0.486 1.000 0.600 Frank (alt) 0.943 0.600 1.000 Ed -0.086 0.429 -0.143 Dick -0.314 -0.086 -0.143 Ed Dick Bob 0.086 0.086 Grant 0.086 0.257 John -0.143 -0.143 Orley -0.086 -0.314 Burt 0.429 -0.086 Frank (alt) -0.143 -0.143 Ed 1.000 -0.371 Dick -0.371 1.000 Pairwise correlations in descending order 1.000 John and Frank (alt) Significantly positive 0.943 John and Orley Significantly positive 0.943 Orley and Frank (alt) Significantly positive 0.771 Bob and Frank (alt) Not significant 0.771 Bob and John Not significant 0.600 John and Burt Not significant 0.600 Burt and Frank (alt) Not significant 0.600 Bob and Orley Not significant 0.486 Bob and Burt Not significant 0.486 Orley and Burt Not significant 0.429 Burt and Ed Not significant 0.371 Bob and Grant Not significant 0.371 Grant and Orley Not significant 0.257 Grant and Frank (alt) Not significant 0.257 Grant and John Not significant 0.257 Grant and Dick Not significant 0.086 Bob and Dick Not significant 0.086 Grant and Ed Not significant 0.086 Bob and Ed Not significant -0.086 Burt and Dick Not significant -0.086 Orley and Ed Not significant -0.143 John and Dick Not significant -0.143 John and Ed Not significant -0.143 Grant and Burt Not significant -0.143 Frank (alt) and Ed Not significant -0.143 Frank (alt) and Dick Not significant -0.314 Orley and Dick Not significant -0.371 Ed and Dick Not significant

COMMENT: The prices of wines A to E are high and relatively similar. Wine F is significantly less expensive. Our rankings line up fairly well with that division. Everyone agreed that the wines were all of excellent quality. So, it is probably fair to say that the prices reflect quality in this group of wines. The wines were notably rich, with high levels of glycerine. However, they were lacking in complex bouquets. The wines that scored the best reflected the influence of either joint venture or other European influence. The wines are likely to get better with age, but are drinking well early.
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