Riding the Mountains of Apalta in a WWII Mercedes
Our second day in Chile, we drove a few hours south of Santiago to the Colchagua Valley in order to tour the steep sloped sub-region of Apalta (160 km/99 mi). The area is largely protected forests, with a limit of only 6 wineries allowed to grow up the hillsides. No further vineyard development is allowed.
The tour through Apalta included a couple hours on mountain roads in the back of a WWII-era Mercedes truck. The region stands along a transverse range, mountains that reach East-West between Chile’s coastal and Andes mountains. The Apalta Valley, then, grows in an elevated mid-zone that carries the diurnal shift of an Andes influence, with the cooling winds of the ocean reach.
Apalta’s climate suits red wine grapes, with few whites planted in the area. The zone hosts various clay loams, differing in color by mineral content. These producers in Chile tend to develop their plantings based on extensive soil studies, with varieties matching mineral and water demands. The red soils in Apalta include a wealth of iron over granite. Yellow soils are higher in silica. The brown soils include more organic materials.
Vina Vintisquero began making wine in 2000. Apalta hosts the winery’s premium wines.
Alyssa Vitrano looking out as we climb the Valley
looking up the Valley after the first climb
terraced Cabernet Sauvignon plantings
looking down Valley from the highest point of the vineyards
Sergio Hormazabal explaining structural development of the vine
Carmenere’s young leaves show copper, and the shoots copper and green vertical stripes, two of the vines definitive characteristics.
After our vineyard slope tour we ventured to the top of the Cabernet Sauvignon terraced vineyard to taste through the Vina Ventisquero portfolio.
Sergio Hormazabal preparing us for the tasting. We tasted through multiple tiers and vintages of Vina Ventisquero wines.
Vina Ventisquero includes a value focused wine of four varietals, the Root: 1 collection. The quality for price here blows all kinds of stuff out of the water–juicy, clean fruit, varietal expression throughout, with a classic (sinewy+juicy flavorful) Chilean expression–more on that to come.
Thank you to Sergio Hormazabal.
Thank you to Marilyn Krieger, and David Greenberg.
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