The Pequeñas Chile Tasting: Boutique Wineries of Chile - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (08/06/2011)



This was the first in a new tasting initiative from Wines of Chile, designed to showcase a range of wines from Chile's growing number of smaller boutique (or Pequeñas) wineries.  In recent years winemakers have been seeking out more varied locations for vineyards.  According to Wines of Chile, "innovation is the new watchword" though I didn't find any particular innovation in the wines: rather to the contrary, I thought they reflected the usual range of Chilean wines, from really world class, to overworked and/or clunky.

Table 1: Vina Arboleda

Arboleda is Eduardo Chadwick's personal project in the Aconcagua Valley, which he started in 1999.

Table 2: Botalcura Winery

Botalcura came out of a collaboration between Jan Fernando Waidele, a Chilean entrepreneur, and French winemaker Philippe Debrus.

Table 3: Viña Dalbosco

Viña Dalbosco was founded by the Dalbosco Cazzanelli brothers in 2008 to exploit the vines planted years before by their father in rural Punitaqui, after he had arrived in Chile in 1952 from Trento in northern Italy. 

Table 4: Domaine de Manson

Domaine de Manson is apparently one of the smallest commercial vineyards in Chile.  It was established in 2000 by George Manson, who planted around 4 hectares of vines on the south bank of teh River Choapa, about 25 kilometres upstream from Salamanca.

The vineyard is at an altitude of 900 metres above sea level, which combines with cooling winds blowing up the valley.  The vines are farmed organically.

Table 5: Viña El Principal

Viña El Principal is situated in the Maipo Valley close to the Chilean capital, Santiago.  The vineyards are at an altitude of around 900 metres above sea level.  All the vines are harvested by hand and the winery relies on gravity for moving the wines from press to barrel. 

Table 6: Francisco de Aguirre

The Viña Francisco de Aguirre vineyards are located in the Limari Valley, planted from 100 to 2000 metres above sea level. 

Table 7: Loma Larga Estate, Lomas del Valle

The wines of Lomas del Valle are produced in the maritime-influenced Casablanca Valley.  All the wines are fermented in 15,000 litre tanks and very little oak is used.

Table 8: Viña Hacienda Araucano, François Lurton

The ubiquitous Lurton came across Lolol in Chile's Colchagua Valley in 1996, and was the first to plant vines in the valley, which runs east-west and funnels cool air in from the Pacific, which lies a mere 40km away.  He now has some 26 hectares of vineyards, mainly planted with cool climate varieties such as sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.  In 2007 Hacienda Araucano converted to biodynamics.

Table 9: Viña Maquis & Calcu Vineyards

The Hurtado family planted the vineyards at the Viña Maquis estate in the Colchagua Valley during the early 20th Century.  The original winery was built in 1927 by owner and engineer, Ignacio Hurtado, when he was just 23 years old.  For nearly 60 years, Viña Maquis grew grapes that were sold to nighbouring wineries.  But in 1999, the Hurtado family invested in replanting their vineyards and, in 2002, began to make their own wine. 

Table 10: Viñedos Errázuriz Ovalle: Viñedos Marchigüe

Table 11: Matetic Vineyards

Matetic Vineyards is a modern winery, pioneering organic and biodynamic viticulture in the cool-climate, coastal region of San Antonio, just south of Casablanca. 

Table 12: Viña Miravalle

Viña Miravalle has 35 hectares of vineyards near Pelequen in the High Cachapoal region, where the Cachapoal and Colchagua valleys meet.  They are planted predominantly with a range of classic Bordeaux varieties.

Table 13: Nativa Eco Wines

Nativa was the first company to produce wines in Chile with grapes that were certified as grown organically.  It was originally launched in 1995 under the Viña Carmen label.

Table 14: Viña Ochotierras

Ocho Tierras is a boutique winery, founded in 1996 and situated in the heart of the Limari Valley.  

Table 15: Quebrada de Macul

Clos Quebrada de Macul is a single hillside, family-owned vineyard in the upper Maipo Valley.  It was planted in 1970, when it was pretty much unheard of in Chile to plant vines on low-yielding hillside sites that were difficult to farm.  That have 30 hectares of vines, 80% of which are cabernet sauvignon, with the rest being planted with merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc.  

Originally the grapes had been sold to other wineries, but in 1996, the owners Isabelle and Ricardo Peña started to producing their own wines under the Domus Aurea label.

Table 16: Quintay

Quintay was established in 2005 by a group of producers who aimed to exploit the potential of Casablanca and Leyda valleys.

Table 17: Viña Santa Cruz

Viña Santa Cruz was established in 2003 close to the city of Santa Cruz in Colchagua.  They have 160 hectares of vineyards planted with cabernet sauvignon, carmenère, syrah, malbec, merlot and petit verdot.

Table 18: Viña Tamaya

Tamaya are based in the Limari Valley, 400km north of Santiago and just 20km from the Pacific.  The name "Tamaya" apparently comes from the Diaguita Indians who inhabited the region between the 8th and 15th centuries, and means 'highest look out point.'

Tamaya was founded in 2001 and currently has 160 hectares of vineyards.

Table 19: Viña Tamm

The Tamm family have been involved in winemaking and viticulture since their ancestors arrived from Germany in 1884.

Table 20: Valle Secreto

Viña Valle Secreto is situated in the high Cachapoal Valley.

Table 21: Viña von Siebenthal

Viña von Siebenthal was established in 1998 when a Swiss lawyer and wine-lover, Mauro von Siebenthal, obtained the financial support of four friends to turn his dream of owning his own winery into reality.

Table 22: Pisco Capel

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Last updated: 9 February 2013