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Vina Montes

Viña Montes was founded by Aurelio Montes and three pioneering partners, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Gran. They had a very clear mission – the production of premium Chilean wines to export to the world! Montes learnt the ropes as a winemaker at Viña Undurraga, leaving after 12 years to take the job as Production Manager at Viña San Pedro, and it was there that he met wine marketeer Murray, finance guru Vidaurre and wine technologist Gran. In the 1980's the type of wine that was being produced in Chile was on the whole indifferent, without the quality needed for global demand, but that was about to change – and how! The friends knew that premium wines could be made in Chile, and in 1987 Montes and Murray started the first activities, with Vidaurre and Gran joining the following year. They began to forge the path that would prove that Chile could produce high quality wines that could be among the best in the world. They set up Discover Wine Ltda; this would evolve into Viña Montes. The place they chose for their first vineyard was Apalta in Chile's Colchagua Valley. Here they pioneered high altitude cultivation, being the first to plant on the slopes of hills at 45°; at the time people thought they were crazy, and dubbed the project “Montes Folly”! Montes were also the first to plant Syrah in Colchagua. Success followed swiftly. The 1987 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon was the first really premium wine to be exported from Chile, and this put Montes in the spotlight - the world was watching and Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah versions followed. The 1996 classic Bordeaux blend, Montes Alpha “M”, was Chile's first ultra-premium wine. In 2000 Folly, a 100% Syrah cultivated on those vertiginous slopes other people thought a mad idea, vindicated Montes as this wine has been recognised as the best Syrah of Chile and in 2005 Purple Angle, the first premium Chilean Carmenere was named by wine critics worldwide a “wine from another planet”. Apart from Conchagua, Montes now have sustainably farmed vineyards in the Curicó, Itata, Maule, Casablanca and Leda Valleys and, with a deep understanding of their terroirs, are able to capture the expression of each unique site. Montes continue to innovate. Their desire to push Chilean viticulture in new directions resulted in the development of the Other Limits range of wines - planting vines in the Zapallar Valley, just 7 kilometres from the Pacific coast in the northern part of the Aconcagua Costa, which only gained DO status in 2012. Vines had never been planted in Zapallar before, but Montes recognised that the uniqueness of the location ripened the grapes slowly, allowing them to develop complexity and powerful aromas, and so Other Limits Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Syrah were born. They also planted in the Itata Valley in the Bio Bio region for the Other Limits Cinsault, and Curtiduría in Maule for Other Limits Pink Muscat. Montes' “crazy” latest innovation in 2017, was planting vines on the Chiloé Archipelago where they are experimenting with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir, on Mechuque Island, 1,120 kilometres south of Santiago de Chile – watch this space! Their state-of-the-art winery in Apalta is very special. Montes wanted it to be built following the concept of Feng Shui and, with the collaboration of Chilean expert Silvia Galleguillos, all the basic elements were incorporated into the design. At the centre of their gravity-fed cellar there is fountain resembling a lily under a skylight, which represents the sun and the moon, and this is the point where the energy is distributed connecting the building with the outer universe. Montes set the standard for Chilean wines, a benchmark for the country, and when you see their instantly recognisable logo, the beautiful Montes Angel, you know that you are getting a bottle of the best wine Chile can offer!