Colchagua is home to some of Chile’s biggest names in wine. Alistair Cooper MW picks six producers to watch...
Colchagua producers: six names to watch
A venture between Kiwi winemaker Grant Phelps (ex-Viu Manent and Casas del Bosque), Princess Tunku Soraya Dakhlah of Malaysia and her husband Sharif Majid (who bought land here a decade ago), plus business partners. Two wines are currently made from differing blends of Carmenère, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah: El Libertino and El Decadente. They are full-bodied and powerful yet with real elegance.
Clos Santa Ana
Luiz Allegretti and Roberto Ibarra’s young organic project is already producing stunning wines. The talented duo of Luca Hodgkinson and José Miguel Sotomayor (‘the Wildmakers’) are consultants, with three wines currently produced. Old foudres made of raulí (a type of beech wood) and amphorae are used for fermentation and the wines are unfiltered. The flagship is Aralez, a blend of Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec; while Velo is a flor-aged, old-vine blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.
Raúl Narvaéz and Angeles Ovalle bought 11ha in 2009 in Palmilla, 8km north of Santa Cruz, but didn’t plant until three years later so they could get biodynamic certification. Just 2.3ha are under vine – mainly Malbec and Carmenère – yet they are experimenting with Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Grenache and Carignan among others. Fanoa’s aim is to produce fresher styles, with little or no oak used in the winemaking. Currently it produces the Seis Tintos blend, plus a Sangiovese and Malbec – all show great promise.
Founded in 2006 by the Undurraga family in Los Lingues, in the Andean foothills. Thanks to head winemaker Cristóbal Undurraga, great purity shines throughout the range, and the coastal project in Paredones is producing compelling Sauvignon Blancs under the Costa label. Koyle makes excellent-value Syrah, while the premium Auma is a muscular blend of Carmenère, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It also has an excellent Muscat and Cinsault from Itata under the Don Cande range.
Own Wine Makers was founded in 2009 by cousins Jaime Núñez (viticulturist) and José Antonio Bravo (winemaker). Today they make five wines – a total of 20,000 bottles. Carmenère, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon are the main focus. The wines are classically Colchagua: ripe, succulent, deep and brooding but with great focus and acidity.
Under head winemaker Patricio Celedón, Viu Manent has pushed towards lighter styles over the past five years, picking earlier and using older foudres and less new oak. It owns 254ha over three sites in Colchagua, and Malbec is a focus, though the ViBo Punta del Viento GSM blend is worth seeking out.
Alistair Cooper MW spent years working for wineries in Argentina and Chile. He is a regular Decanter contributor and judge, and the resident wine expert for BBC Radio Oxford
This first appeared as part of the Colchagua regional profile in the June 2018 issue of Decanter. Decanter Premium members can read the full article here.