2021 San Pedro “1865 Selected Vineyards” Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile (Alcohol 14.5%, Residual Sugar 4 g/l) LCBO Vintages $19.95 (750ml bottle)

While you may have seen 1865 Wines on the shelves over the years, they’ve returned with their 2021 Selected Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, with a new look that celebrates the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dragon.

1865 Wines, from Viña San Pedro, has been a staple in the industry since 1997 and is named after the founding year of the winery.

I was lucky enough to get one of the Lunar New Year Cabernet Sauvignons sent to me, and I was impressed by the packaging. The wine came in a fancily decorated red box graced with imagery of a gold dragon in recognition of the year. Unboxing never looked so stylish.

1865 Selected Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon

My stylish unboxing session was followed by a conversation with the winemaker, Andrea Calderon, where I got a chance to learn not just about the 1865 Selected Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, but also her winemaking philosophy and the driver for the brand as a whole.

But this piece is supposed to be about the wine, so let’s get to it.

Ok – another admission. Seeing the marketing effort to align the wine with the Lunar New Year and in a highly visibly appealing way, I was ready for the wine to not be ‘up to snuff’ as they say. But, with the first sip, I was forced to stop and rethink.

The grapes for the 1865 Cabernet Sauvignon come from Maipo Valley and are grown 470 metres (1,500 feet) above sea level. Soils are mineral-rich alluvium, leading to deep-rooted vines with character in the berries.

The 2021 growing year was temperate, enabling the vineyards to develop with less climatic stress, leading to longer hang time, resulting in plush grapes that retain their acidity due to the elevation of the Upper Maipo and soil.

The 2021, 1865 Selected Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is ruby on sight, with subdued black fruit and bell pepper aromatics. As the wine absorbs more oxygen, bright red cherries and floral notes of violet appear on the nose. On the palate, you are greeted by a finely balanced dry red wine of medium plus acidity, alcohol, and tannin. Blackberry, bell pepper, peppercorn, cacao, leather, and subtle undertones of caramel are also present.

This vintage is aged in oak, 20% new and in a blend of majority French and American oak. The combination of cooperage adds depth to the wine on the palate, and the hint of American oak, though not my choice of vessel, actually lends some complexity that compliments the overall winemaking. The French oak not only helps to soften the tannins naturally found in this variety but also adds the pepper notes listed above. The American oak adds that nuance of caramel, just enough to add a layer of thoughtfulness.

As the wine breathes, a back palate blend of anise and blackberry sing. The mouthfeel is adorned with fine tannins that coat the palate. The finish is medium in length but enjoyable all the way. While this wine was aged in oak, the black/red fruit and herbaceousness lead the show.

For only $19.95 in the LCBO, this is a fun and balanced wine that can dress your laid-back dinner fare and be a hands-down crowd-pleaser while at it.

3.5 apples out of 5



(Three and a half out of a possible five apples)