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Franco-Chilean Altair to be launched at en primeur

St Emilion grand cru Château Dassault, Chilean wine giant San Pedro and consultant Pascal Chatonnet are set to release their new Chilean wine.

The first vintage of Altair, the fruit of the joint venture between the Dassault family, aeroplane-makers and owners of Château Dassault in St Emilion and Chilean winemakers San Pedro, will be unveiled in Bordeaux during the week of the 2003 en primeur tastings.

The joint venture, set up in 2000, uses some 60 hectares of San Pedro’s best vineyards in the Cachapoal region. A further ten hectares have been planted on steep slopes and a spectacular US$7 million winery has been built overlooking the valley.

Altair 2002 was unveiled to a group of international wine journalists last week by the project’s consultant, Pascal Chatonnet, whose clients include Vega Sicilia.

‘I had two instructions from Laurent Dassault: no white wine and make a wine that is drinkable. Laurent told me that he has many expensive wines in his cellar that he cannot drink. He told me to make a very expensive wine but he has to be able to finish the bottle,’ Chatonnet told decanter.com.

Altair is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with a small proportion of Carmernère and Merlot. It will retail for US$80-90.

They will also release Sideral, a relatively easy drinking wine made from mainly Cabernet Sauvignon but with some Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Carmenère. It will retail for US$25-$30.

By 2010 annual production of Altair and Sideral is expected to reach 15,000 cases each.

Written by Jim Budd

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