One of South America’s most iconic wines, Casa Real, is set to release the new 2020 vintage on La Place de Bordeaux this September. The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo is now celebrating its third vintage being traded on La Place, marking its worldwide growing reputation as a fine wine worth collecting.
A Chilean wine legend
Casa Real was one of the first true ‘icon’ wines to emerge from South America, with its first vintage in 1989. The wine was ahead of its time and set the bar for Chilean premium wines that followed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Casa Real was also the first wine from South America to become a Decanter ‘Wine Legend’, ranking it alongside some of the most exceptional wines from around the world.
Part of the legacy of Casa Real is its consistency. To date, only two winemakers have created its celebrated wines and all of the grapes have come from the same estate vineyard in Alto Jahuel.
‘When I was a young winemaker, I remember how important Casa Real was, it was the wine everyone aspired to make,’ says winemaker Sebastian Labbé, who took over the reins from Casa Real’s first winemaker, Cecilia Torres, when she retired in 2017. ‘Casa Real is a wine that has history and fans, and it is an incredible responsibility.’
Labbé has been instrumental in ushering Casa Real into this new era, with the steady incorporation of grapes from newer vineyards, which are replacing yields as they gradually decline in the old-vine blocks. The new vineyards have been planted with genetic material taken from the oldest blocks, to retain the same singular character Casa Real has built its reputation on. While Maipo has become Chile’s top terroir for Cabernet Sauvignon, there is a distinctive character to Casa Real and, indeed, to Alto Jahuel.
‘We have four different massal selections of Cabernet Sauvignon, but all with very small berries and thick skins,’ Labbé explains. ‘Alto Jahuel is on the third and fourth river terrace, with much more clay than Puente Alto, for example. It is a unique place to show the grandeur and nobility of Cabernet Sauvignon,’ he continues. It’s the combination of genetics and terroir that Labbé credits for the unique character of Casa Real: ‘The DNA of Casa Real is in the structure of the tannins – intense but fine-grained – and able to age very well,’ he shares.
As for those first vintages, made over 30 years ago, they go to prove that Casa Real is a wine worthy of ageing, which is what makes La Place de Bordeaux a perfect fit. The first vintage sold on La Place – 2018 – achieved exceptional sales in 25 fine wine markets around the world from Australia to Luxembourg. As the 2020 vintage is poised for release, there’s little doubt Casa Real’s legacy will continue to grow.