Meeting and Tasting with Montes Winemakers Part One: Story and Starting the Wine Tasting

Oh boy what a surprise and a treat was in store for me…

We’re hoping you can join Montes Winemakers Aurelio Montes Senior and Aurelio Montes Junior for an intimate wine luncheon on Thursday, February 23rd. The Father and son are coming together for the first time in Los Angeles, to share their passion for wine and winemaking.

…as my old friend Alex Guarachi (check out our videotaped interview and tasting back in 2012) with Guarachi Wine Partners, long-time importer for Montes Wines, was there too. I got some good quality time with Guarachi and both Aurelio Montes Sr. (Montes, Chilean wines) and Aurelio Montes Jr. (Kaiken, Argentinean wines) within the first half hour of the event. Before, while sipping on non-vintage Montes Sparkling (100% Chardonnay, only been making for a couple of years) and during the tasting I learned:

Father and son had a day in LA before taking a long flight back to Chile, where harvest has already begun. The seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite what they are here in California.

Aurelio Jr. and Aurelio Sr.

Chilean wines are exported the most to Japan and U.S.

The father and son duo only jokingly refer to the tasting as Chile versus Argentina. Montes Wines is in Chile, and Kaiken in Argentina. While Jr. concentrates on Argentina, Sr. remains in Chile. They explained some of the differences, not limited to the fact that the two countries are separated by the Andes, Sr. said “Chile has a maritime climate” due to its proximity to the ocean while “Argentina is continental.” Both have rain, but at different times.

Guarachi said that Montes was founded 28 years ago, with four partners, and began selling in the U.S. with 60,000 cases of Montes and 2,000 cases from Kaiken. Now they are producing over 7 million cases collectively.

Guarachi joked that years ago when people were presented with Chilean wines they were unsure of where Chile was, mistaking South America (where Chile and Argentina are) with South Africa.

Aurelio Sr. has received several accolades as a winemaker, innovator and importer. Jr. is also receiving amazing reviews, Guarachi said.

Jr. became interested in wine after a trip to Napa with his father at the ripe age of fifteen. The younger man commented that he was “born in a wine barrel”…and looked to his father with curiosity about his passion for the wine industry.

Aurelio Sr. left us with this thought, when he plants on the hillside, and needs to have irrigation, “I play the music and the plant dances” and on the valley floor it’s the opposite. Jr. said that “a Malbec from Argentina is never less than good” and while Malbec got Argentina out in the world it is now time to “open the gates” for other wines.

Tasting – aromas and flavors separated by ;

Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2014

100% Chardonnay

Lemon zest, ripe pineapple, unsalted butter and wet stone on the nose; on the mouth I got lemon-lime, kiwi and a medium acidity. 90 Eve pts.


Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay 2014

100% Chardonnay

Apricot, apple and cool steel; then a balanced front palate with bruised apple and tropical fruit, lingering acidity on the back palate for the finish. 91 Eve pts.


Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot

Sweet plums, black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, mushroom, earth and charred steak all on the nose; black fruit, black pepper, tannins and a very long finish in the mouth. 90 Eve pts.


Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec

Aromas of red fruit, white pepper and milk chocolate; followed by big, dark, dry and dusty notes of blueberry, fig, spice and tannins in the mouth. 90 Eve pts.


Montes Alpha Malbec 2014

95% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Dense red to blue fruit, sweet black cherry, and earth all in a velvety nose; with a spicy yet balanced palate filled with dried black berries. 91 Eve pts.


Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2014

100% Malbec

Chocolate, mint, dark berries, clove and concrete up front; flavors of dried cherry, the same dark fruit as in the aroma, dry and mildly tart. 90 Eve pts.


Stay tuned to this website on 3/10/17 for Montes Wine Tasting Part Two and Menu from The District by Hannah An.

Watch it in less than one minute here.

Aurelio Montes Senior in Chile:

Aurelio Montes Junior in Argentina:

Guarachi Wine Partners:

The District by Hannah An:

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via