SAN FRANCISCO — June 30, 2016 — For Denmark-born winemaker, Steffan Jullsgaard, producing wines is far more than just a way to try and make a living, it’s his passion, love and joy in each bottle. Steffan makes wines on two different continents – for Cooper Wine Company on Red Mountain in Washington State and for his own Chilean winery called Elqui Wines.
It was the love of his now wife that kept him in Chile and that was underscored by his love of the wines from there as well. He first fell in-love with Chile when he first went there to work harvest for a couple of wineries.
With his Elqui brand, he produces wines that he feels best represent the terroir of the Elqui Valley they’re sourced from. This valley is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert. He does very small lots of Malbec, Syrah, Carmenere, Pinot Noir and Moscatal.
You’ll find his red wines have a very “Washington-tasting profile” on them. A stellar combination of fruit, tannin, body and acidity. Steffan takes this as a huge compliment as some of his favorite new world wines are produced in Washington State.
2013 Carmenere Syrah Malbec $16:
It’s a bottle of love-silk on your tongue that’s been laced with slices of peppered beef jerky. There’s a gorgeous blueberry, blackberry and leather component that augments everything. Solid tannin structure and a long, elegant finish make this easily one of the best-tasting wines I’ve ever tasted under $20 dollars.
2013 Malbec $25:
This wine starts off on the nose with some stellar floral notes that lead into aromas of peppercorn, allspice, blackberry, cassis and some mushroom action as well. The mouthfeel is nearly sublime and does a tremendous job of providing the mouth feel we love that lingers on for what feels like days. The wine still retains some decent acidity which helps it maintain a good sense of food friendliness and should help it age well for the next 8-12 years.
2013 Carmenere $25:
There’s something special about the bell pepper / jalapeno pepper component we find in this often over-looked Bordeaux varietal. If ever there was the “perfect wine” to pair with grilled, spicy red meat, it’s this one. It brings flavors and aromas of beef jerky, jalapeno, black peppercorns, minerality, Marion berry, black plums that linger for a long time. Drink now with a long decant time or lay down for 8-12 years.
Steffan has shown his chops as a winemaker with these wines, knocking every one of them out of the park with a home run. In all three of the bottles we tasted through, there was a sense of elegance, flavor, good structure and finish. You’d be very hard-pressed to find better wines for the money with domestic producers. If you’re doing any kind of summer time grilling at all, then these wines are ones you should really seek out – they’re worth every penny.
To access these wines, simply ask your favorite wine retailer to order them in from the importer, Elixir Wine Group, based out of Bend, Oregon.
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