Cuvelier Cuvée del Maule 2009 "Earthquake Blend"

Posted: April 08, 2012

Charlie Beatty was the last person to imagine his teddy-bearish image gracing billboards in South Jersey. But once the Cammarata brothers (Filippo, Max, and Tony) had lured the affable wine guru from Canal's Bottlestop to WineWorks, their snazzy store in Marlton, they spread the word with roadside flair. "Charlie's got a new shirt," shouted the billboard, telling motorists of his new home.

"His impact has been unbelievable," said Filippo. Beatty has added to their already large selection of 800 labels and brought along his huge and devoted clientele.

The appeal of his sharp yet always down-to-earth guidance was obvious as we grazed rieslings (Zilliken Butterfly, $15.98), sipped great cab value from the futuristic free tasting machine (Wente, $11.48), then paused for a lesser-known Chilean bottle with a great story. Cuvee del Maule 2009 is known as the "Earthquake Blend" because winemaker Baptiste Cuvelier (also of Bordeaux's Chateau Léoville-Poyferré) salvaged this brew from the barrels that weren't destroyed at the winery in the devastating 2010 earthquake. Considering the circumstances, the result (mostly cab, carmenère, and merlot) is a shockingly good balance of intense red fruit with cocoa, spice and earthy complexity - and at a nice price.

"Impressive," says Beatty. And he's right.

- Craig LaBan

Cuvelier Cuvée del Maule 2009 "Earthquake Blend," $15.98, Wineworks, 319 West Route 70, Marlton, 856-596-3330; www.wineworksonline.com

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