And the winner is...
Maycas del Limarí Quebrada Seca Chardonnay 2008, Limarí
Whisper it – but has Chile finally turned a corner with Chardonnay?
In the past, oceans of inoffensive, uninspiring Chardonnay seeped out of the country. From this year’s tasting, it seems that winemakers are finally starting to sit up and take an active interest in how to make their Chardonnays drinkable and engaging, at all levels. This wine was the crowning glory of that evidence in this year’s DWWA.
It’s a wine that needs time in glass. Competitions often get criticised for overlooking wines that are subtle, and which need time to evolve and come out of themselves. On two separate occasions, this wine was spotted as a ‘sleeper’ and was left for a full 20 minutes to open up. It didn’t disappoint.
The nose has subtle but tantalising aromas of roasted apples and smoked nuts, with a mineral, flinty edge. On the palate, it is broad and compelling, intensely savoury and with a structured acidity and lick of salinity that make it supremely food-friendly.
As one very experienced judge commented, ‘it’s another dimension for Chilean Chardonnay’.
The wine was made by Marcelo Papa of Concha y Toro and its Limarí offshoot Maycas. Papa is a self-confessed Chardonnay obsessive, also passionate about Limarí and the way its limestone-encrusted soils, bright sunshine and cool coastal terroir give naturally vibrant yet savoury styles of this classic Burgundian variety.
Although he’s currently experimenting with Chardonnay made in glass demi-johns, this is a more classic cuvee, fermented and aged for a year in Burgundian oak barrels (although it’s so well integrated you might never know it).
A quite brilliant wine and a standard-bearer for Chilean Chardonnay.
Written by Peter Richards