This week we focus on a number of stunning single vineyard wines from Chile's Vina Errazuriz - pound for point these wines offer simply unbelievable value.
Seven of Errazuriz’s eight estates are located in the Aconcagua Valley, benefiting from the maritime influence. The relatively new Aconcagua Costa wines are planted at the "Manzanar" vineyard site,within a stone's throw of the Pacific. In the last few vintages, the focus has been on finesse, harvesting early, looking for a balance between ripeness and acidity and working everything - in all their wineries - by gravity. Luis Gutierrez , Chile critic for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, observed that "I loved the freshness of the new Aconcagua Costa wines and the balance and restraint of the Aconcagua reds."
Errazuriz has recently completed construction of a brand new winery building that is one of the most stunning pieces of modern winery architecture in the world. Designed at a price of $50 million dollars by architect Samuel Claro, with the help of sustainability consultant Guillermo Hevia, the winery is masterful in its use of light, curved surfaces, and airflow, resulting in an incredibly compelling space that is naturally cooled from air recirculated from underground.
Winemaking at Errazuriz is overseen by Swiss winemaker Francisco Baettig with help from Purisima Vergara, and consultant Nick Goldsmith. The approach to making the wines, even at the lowest end of the portfolio, remains as it always has, one in which the expense is not necessarily correlated with the profit to be gained. Unlike many wineries in Chile, all the fruit for the wines is hand-picked in small bins and heavily sorted before fermentation. The reds typically undergo cold soaking and extended maceration, and the top reds are also fermented (at least partially) in oak.
Luis Gutierrez continues – “Tasting the Errázuriz line up is always exciting ,as they are exploring the coastal, fresher parts of their vineyards, separating plots and vinifying them separately. Part of this search resulted in the creation of two groundbreaking wines from slate soils, a terroir still to be explored and exploited in Chile. The slate (or schist) wines show subdued minerality and a different character, and while the Pinot Noir is very good, the Chardonnay really excels. The team of Eduardo Chadwick and Francisco Baetting are showing clockwork precision with better wines each vintage. They are all highly recommended.”