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Visiting Bragao Vineyard in the Cima Corgo of the Douro

In the heart of the Cima Corgo grow the highest quality vines of the Douro, in the hands of the best producer capable of giving layered mountain complexity with a lift of freshness on table wines, the same fruit somehow lively even in the richness of port wine.

Antonio and Nick walking beside the QuintaFar up the valley of the Rio Pinhao, a tributary of the Douro, stands the Bragao Quinta. Built in 1826, its stacked schist construction offers a testament to the persistence of life in the Douro, a region whose terrain proves resistant to too much modernization for its near impenetrability.

The old Lagares at BragaoThe quinta stands above mixed variety old vine vineyards ranging from 40 to near 100 years of age. Most fruit is sold to producers of the Douro. Small quantities are kept for wines of the owner. For the owner, fruit is brought into the 1826 winery only on Mondays to be foot tred in the lagares (open top stone fermenters unique to Portugal. The Bragao lagares are shown above.) now being cleaned and prepared for the 2014 harvest.

Antonio TaveraLike many vineyard owners through the region, Antonio Tavera grew up in Porto migrating to the Douro for harvest. He was born at the quinta during harvest while his father brought in grapes, and has since inherited the property.

The old oil lamp at BragaoThanks to the mountainous nature of the region, electricity has reached the Douro only in recent decades. Before electricity, Antonio explains, the only light they had came during the day from small openings in the rock walls of the building. At night, oil lamps made from converted oil cans (like the small green one shown above) faintly illuminated the space.

 

Port in BragaoChalk marks along the wood cask help the winemaker track the 4:1 brandy to must ratio in making the port.

Harvest workers at Bragao old vine vineyardOutside, the vineyard crew walks the length of terraces in 90F degrees to carry back grapes for port wine just harvested. The vines in this section of the vineyard range between 40 and 50 years old, planted in a field blend of mixed varieties, insurance against the variability of vintage.

Carrying grapes down the schist wall at BragaoTaking the grapes back to be picked up by truck includes descending steps made with slabs of schist extended from the rock wall by only a few inches, then returning to climb the same steps for another tub to do it again.

Harvest at BragaoIt took me at least 90 seconds to descend steps it took this woman carrying a full tub no more than 30. She walked the terrace towards me all the while smiling.

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Photos from Visiting the Douro with Quinta Dos Murcas

After two days in Alentejo we drove to the Cima Corgo region of the Douro to spend a day with Assobio, and Quinta Dos Murcas.

Margarita Figueireda, vineyard manager, Quinta Dos MurcasVineyard manager, Margarida Figuerieda brought us to the top of the vineyard in the back of a small pickup truck to see the first vertical vineyard planted in the Douro — a practice taken from the Mosel after Quinta Dos Murcas then-winemaker visited the region. The south facing 30-degree slope receives lots of sun exposure, and therefore ripeness.

from the top of Quinta Dos MurcasThe Douro region carries lots of schist, with the Douro Superior (closer to Spain) primarily populated by dark schist. The rock is used to make posts at the ends of vineyard rows, rather than wood.

Looking into Assobio VineyardAssobio red wines are harvested from a cooler planting behind Quinta Dos Murcas where the wind picks up whistling through the canyon. The cooler pocket keeps more freshness in the wines. The label name, Assobio, is the sound of the wind whistling.

Looking West down the DouroWest up the Douro sits the Quinta Vale Figueira vineyard, named for the fig trees that grow there.

Into the ruins of Quinta Dos MurcasNew buildings cannot be constructed on raw land along the Douro. However, many of these properties include old winery ruins from the last two centuries. Land already containing a structure such as these can be rebuilt for a newer purpose.

Harvest of Tinta Roriz at Quinta Dos MurcasThe day we visited, September 11, 2014, harvest began on Tinto Roriz (also known as Aragones in the South, and Tempranillo in Spain). It was the first day of harvest at Quinta Dos Murcas.

Tinta Roriz

Harvest at Quinta Dos Murcas Tank Samples of Assobio & Quinta Dos Murcas with Michael WrenWinemaker Michael Wren leads the Douro winery during harvest. We were able to taste tank and barrel samples of the 2013 Assobio, and Quinta Dos Murcas Reserva red blends.

Port samples with Michael WrenThen taste 5 and 10 year tawny ports from cask. The house makes only 10 year and vintage ports but works towards a 5-year tawny style to use for blending with older barrels into a 10 year style.

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Portugal: A Day in Alentejo with Esporao

After a day of travel, we arrived to Lisbon early morning, then drove southeast, checking into a hotel in UNESCO World Heritage site, Evora, Portugal. The city stands within a 15th c. outer standing wall, with the center including portions of an 11th c. fortification. Ancient megolithic monuments, 3rd century B.C. archaeological sites, and hints of Moorish architecture dot the countryside. Mostly it is the sky. The region of Alentejo, in which Evora sits, is known for its clarity of light, its pure wide open skies.

A look across AlentejoAfter checking into our rooms, we immediately drove another 45 minutes south to Reguengos de Monsaraz, “the people’s town,” a settlement outside a castled hillside where the nobility used to live. Reguengos de Monsaraz proves the heat of Alentejo, bringing August and September grape harvests (early for much of the Northern hemisphere) of primarily red wine grapes. Esporao hosted our first day of travel through the region of Alentejo.

Ana Carrilhoolive oil master blender Ana Carrilho

Olive oil proves to be one of Portugal’s treasures. While olives grow well throughout the Mediterranean, most countries have few controls on its growth, production, sourcing or labeling. While Italy is recognized as home for Extra Virgin Olive oil, for example, much of the fruit in such bottlings does not come from Italy, but instead elsewhere where farming can be done at higher volume for less. The country does not place very strong legal controls on one of its iconic exports. Portugal instead has taken the slower path keeping its focus on smaller production, higher quality oils with DOP controls.

Portuguese Extra Virgin Olive Oil Tasting w Ana CarrilhoMaster blender Ana Carrilho studied olive agriculture, and blending while also teaching the subject in universities in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Today she creates high quality blends from three DOP regions of Portugal using a range of varieties. For quality olive oils the focus rests in freshness. The best oils are consumed immediately after bottling, with ideal age being within a year to three years after depending on variety. Galega, for example, tends to last long in bottle, while Arbequina keeps less well.

Winemaker David BraverstockEsporao chief winemaker, David Baverstock, hosted lunch for us enjoying several of the wineries wines including a beautifully crisp 2012 Bruto Metodo Classico sparkling wine made from Antao Vaz, and Arinto, and 4, a red blend offering a combination of fresh red and dark fruits on a backbone of structure with satisfying acidity.

Herdade Do EsporaoWe were talked into changing clothes for a ridiculous while fun grape stomping session in Touriga Nacional fresh from the region.

Stomping Touriga NacionalI’m such a joiner.

Verdelho in the Experimental BlockOne of the coolest elements of the visit included a walk through a ten hectare experimental vineyard where each row grows a different variety. The site offers local producers, and universities alike insight into the growing potential and constraints of the region.

Alicante Bouschet in the Experimental BlockCuttings for the experimental block were optained from nurseries and vineyards throughout Europe and showcase not only indigenous, but also international varieties. Alicante Bouschet, for example, a French variety known for its exquisite color, was found to be quite expressive in the region, and is now more common in red blends throughout Alentejo.

Alicante BouschetAmong red varieties, Alicante Bouschet proves unusual in that its juice and meat squeeze red while other dark grapes retain white insides.

The gardens from the top of a 15c Historic TowerIn the midst of Reguengos de Monsaraz structures from the 12th and 15th centuries still stand. From the top of a 15th c tower originally built for Duchess Catarina de Bragança, who went on to marry King Charles II of England, there remain beautiful views of gardens and countryside,

The Historic Church, Alentejoas well as a historic 15th c. church that once stood in the center of the local village.

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Touring the Willamette Valley with Jamie Goode + Jr

Jamie Goode and I were able to spend a day doing visits in the Willamette Valley. Jr accompanied us and did some filming along the way. Following our a few photos from our stops.

Jamie GoodeJamie Goode in Adelsheim‘s Calkin’s Lane Vineyard David PaigeDavid Paige, winemaker Adelsheim AdelsheimAdelsheim vineyard designate Pinot NoirClare CarverClare Carver, Big Table Farm Jr feeding cattleJr feeding cattle at Big Table Farm Brian MarcyBrian Marcy, Big Table Farm David Aubrey and Jamie GoodeDavid Aubrey and Jamie Goode, Westrey Wines WestreyOracle Vineyard Pinots, Westrey WinesBaby Lucy, Walter Scott Winesbaby Lucy, Walter Scott Wines Lucy Walter Scott Winesbaby Lucy, Walter Scott Wines Walter Scott WinesWalter Scott Pinot in barrel Dan RinkeDan Rinke, Johan Wines Dag SundbyDag Sundby, Johan Wines Johan Johan Wines Maggie Harrison, Jamie Goode, JrMaggie Harrison, Jamie Goode, Jr Maggie Harrison, Jamie GoodeMaggie Harrison, Jamie Goode Antica Terrasmall Pinot Noir clusters, Antica Terra Vineyard Antica Terraview from the top, Antica Terra Yumyum Antica Terraa selection of Antica Terra wines

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Sip Stroll at Shake Ridge Ranch 2014

In Amador County of the Sierra Foothills, a little more than an hour from Sacramento, 45-minutes from Lodi, or two hours from Napa-Sonoma stands Shake Ridge Ranch, one of the vineyard treasures of California.

Shake Ridge Ranch grows a vine village covering more-than 46 acres with a plethora of grape varieties and growing styles. Ann Kraemer began planting the site in 2003 bringing with her extensive Napa Valley viticulture experience, and a rock-star portfolio of winemakers interested in working with any fruit she’d grow. As a result, the spot hosts numerous custom-developed-for-winemaker plantings, as well as variation like one fruit type grown in several different styles.

Shake Ridge Ranch is also just gorgeous.

Yesterday, the Kraemer family hosted its second Sip… Stroll… Eat… Enjoy featuring smaller production winemakers pouring their Shake Ridge wines. The event brought special guests, wine buyers, sommeliers, and writers together with winemakers and the Kraemer family to witness the uniqueness of the site.

Labels poured this year and their winemaker included: Aratas, Stephanie Douglas; Bella Grace, Michael Havill; Buccella, Rebekah WineBurg; Dirty & Rowdy, Hardy & Kate Wallace; Enfield Wine Co., John Lockwood; Favia Wines, Annie Favia & Andy Erickson; Ferdinand Wines, Evan Frazier; Forlorn Hope, Matthew Rorick; Gallica, Rosemary Cakebread; Gather, Jessica Tarpy & Andrew Shaheen; Hatcher Wine, Matt Hatcher; JC Cellars, Jeff Cohn; Keplinger Wines, Helen Keplinger; La Chertosa, Sam Sebastiani; Miller Wine Works, Gary Miller; Newsome Harlowe, Scott Klann; Portalupi, Jane Portalupi; A Tribute to Grace, Angela and Jason Osborne; Yorba Wines, Ken Bernards.

Following are photos from the event.

Photos from a Tasting at Shake Ridge Ranch

Julia Van Der Vink

Forlorn Hope Wines

JC Cellars

JC Cellars

Ferdinand Wines

Ferdinand Wines

Ferdinand the Bull

Ferdinand Wines

Enfield Wine Co

Enfield Wine Co.

Enfield Wine Co

Enfield Wine Co.

Napa Valley Legends

John Lockwood (Enfield Wine Co.), Alex Kongsgaard (Kongsgaard Wine), Alexandra Athens (Forlorn Hope), Hardy Wallace (Dirty & Rowdy)

Shake Ridge Ranch

Hardy Wallace

Dirty & Rowdy Family Wine

Dirty & Rowdy

Dirty & Rowdy Family Wine

Jr

Jr.

Shake Ridge Ranch

Andy Erickson

Favia Wines

Favia Wines

Favia Wines

Shake Ridge Ranch

Gather Wines

Gather Wines

Gather Wines

Gather Wines

Shake Ridge Ranch

A Tribute to Grace

A Tribute to Grace

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To read more about Shake Ridge Ranch:

From Mike Dunne: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/06/5883482/dunne-on-wine-amador-countys-shake.html

From Roger King: http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-review/793/Shake-Ridge-Ranch.html

From Virginie Boone: http://www.winemag.com/Web-2012/The-Sierras-Rhne-Warriors/

Photos from last year’s event: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2013/05/15/photos-from-a-tasting-at-shake-ridge-vineyard-amador/

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For more on wines from Shake Ridge Ranch: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2014/05/15/three-2011-tempranillos-from-shake-ridge-ranch/

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Thank you to Ann Kraemer, and the entire Kraemer family.

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Moments from 2013 in Photos

It’s overwhelming to look back through the mass of photos, and stack of wine interview/tasting notebooks I developed in the 2013 calendar year. I can’t say clearly enough how grateful I am.

I went through the photos I’ve taken, and picked a few images to highlight moments from the year. It reminded me how important it is to look back just for a sense of perspective. I didn’t realize how much I’d done until I took the time to consider it.

Here are a few photos. It was hard to choose.

Lagier Meredith

Visiting with Carole Meredith and Stephen Lagier of Lagier-Meredith, aka SCIENTIST LEGEND and SYRAH MASTER (I’m realizing I should send them capes)

Santa Barbara, Pence Ranch

Touring the Sta Rita Hills as part of two weeks devoted to Santa Barbara County wine, here one of the dogs of Pence Ranch.

The Southern Ocean, Australia

Standing in front of the Southern Ocean while traveling Victoria, Australia

Napa Valley Marathon

Watching my brother-in-law run the Napa Valley Marathon. So proud of him.

Old Vines with Morgan Twain Peterson and Carla Rzewszewski

Visiting the iconic, old vine, elevation Monte Rosso Vineyard with Morgan Twain-Peterson and Carla Rzeszewski

Smith-Madrone

the aftermath of an excellent afternoon with Smith-Madrone

7 Percent Tasting

Ryan Glaab, Hardy Wallace, and Pax Mahle before the 7 Percent Solution Tasting

Santa Cruz Mountains

Spending time in the Santa Cruz Mountains, here with the gang at Fogarty Vineyards

Wine Label for Between Five Bells

My label for the Australian wine, Between Five Bells H-Cote Blend, shown here as it wraps the bottle–It was even selected as “Beautiful Thing for the Week” by Australia’s Wine Business Magazine. Custom wall pieces of my drawings also went up in the new wine room of the Villandry Restaurant in London, and in multiple homes and tasting rooms in the United States, and I got to illustrate for a few different magazines and wine programs, including Serious Eats, and Le Metro.

Lodi w Tegan Passalacqua

Visiting Lodi over several trips in both Summer and Fall, here in the Peninsula of Mokelumne River AVA with Tegan Passalacqua

Ron Silva, Lodi

Spending time in people’s homes sharing wine, heritage, and interviews, here with Ron Silva as he prepares Portuguese food for dinner, Alta Mesa AVA

The Perlegos Brothers, Lodi

Exploring old vine vineyards with the Perlegos brothers, Clements Hills AVA

Hank Beckmeyer, Sierra Foothills

Meeting the goats at La Clarine Farm with Hank Beckmeyer

Chris Pittenger and Hardy Wallace, Sierra Foothills

Touring through various El Dorado Vineyards with Chris Pittenger and Hardy Wallace

Willamette Valley, Remy and Lisa

Visiting with dear friends in Willamette Valley, Oregon, here Remy Drabkin and Lisa Shara Hall

50th Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary

Evan Frazier

Tasting through the complete history of winemaking from newer labels of California, here Evan Frazier of Ferdinand

Matthew Rorick

Keeping up with ongoing stories in Napa wine, here Matthew Rorick harvesting his St Laurent from Carneros

Languedoc

Tasting and Touring the Languedoc, lunch floating the canal du Midi from Carcassonne

Valdobbiadene

Visiting Valdobbiadene, and the hills of the Prosecco DOCG, here with Silvia, Primo, and Annalisa Franco of Nino Franco

Venice

Traveling Northern Italy with friends, here with Jeremy Parzen in Venice

Chile

Tasting and Driving through Chilean wine from Santiago, the Holy Virgin at the top of San Cristobal Hill

Argentina

Studying and Touring Wines of Mendoza, Argentina along the foot of the Andes

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I have so much to write still. My stack of notebooks from the last year is over 10 inches high. This month still I have a number of illustrations and wall pieces, plus a couple of labels to do, and freelance articles to write, along with tastings and interviews with winemakers. My plate is full. I am so grateful. I am also tired.

To celebrate I’ve decided to take the rest of the year off from posting on this blog. I’ll be catching up on tons of work off blog. Also, it’s time to rejuvenate through the dark month, and come back in the new year refreshed and excited again for work.

Looking forward to seeing you here just after the new year. In the meantime, feel free to email me, as always, or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

Enjoy a wonderful remainder of December, and the holidays. Thankful with all my heart.

Copyright 2013 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com

 

 

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Walking through Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires glows with color. Huge swaths of town celebrate an off-white, silvery hue of European influenced architecture. Mixed into the cityscape are neighborhoods and buildings bursting with vibrancy.

The famous Casa Rosada in the Plaza de Mayo, known internationally for Evita‘s influence and speeches from its porch side while serving as the country’s House of Government, offers one such example. Near the water the neighborhood La Boca celebrates a wealth of multi-toned buildings believed to be colored originally with paints taken from boat preparations left over at port.

Off-and-on over the next while I’ll be looking at wine in Argentina, as tasting and interviews have continued since return to the States last month. When traveling Argentine wine most of our time was spent in Mendoza. However, we also had a day in the country’s largest city.

Following are photos from Buenos Aires, focusing mainly on a walk through La Boca. I love finding my way into portraits.

Casa Rosada

outside the Casa Rosada

Plaza de Mayo

visiting the Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo

the Plaza de Mayo

Photos of La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

La Boca

I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful afternoon.

Cheers!

Copyright 2013 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com

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Zombie Walk Mendoza Argentina

Walking through downtown Mendoza with a hot wind pouring over us, I turned back towards the hotel in a slight daze. Reaching Plaza Independencia in the center of town, I expected to cross without incident and return to the hotel. Within a few steps, however, I was greeted by laughing zombies. Then more of them. Very quickly I was confronted with two feelings simultaneously — a visceral need to leave the park urgently, and an intellectual curiosity to stay long enough to figure out why I was surrounded by people covered in rotting flesh.

It turns out I had walked into the pre-stages of Mendoza, Argentina’s annual Zombie Walk, a phenomenon that began in the year 2000 as a flash mob in Milwaukee, and was successful enough to launch worldwide events occurring annually since. Mendoza has carried now a four year annual tradition.

World records have been set repeatedly, with zombie numbers growing. The original largest started at 894 zombies walking in 2006 across Pittsburgh. The following year Toronto drew 1100 zombies. England hosted more than 1200 in 2008. The current World Record for largest Zombie gathering, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records, gives the Twin Cities 8027 zombies in November 2012. Santiago, Chile has actually had a 12,000 person zombie walk, and Buenos Aires 25,000 but neither was officially recorded to allow for World Records.

Considering the simultaneous revulsion and fascination I felt at the early scene preparing for the walk, I’m glad I had to leave and meet living people before the festivities took off. Eventually I discovered in the midst of the park there was a woman putting makeup on people, covering them in blood, and disguising even young children brought to her by their parents.

It turned out I was the only one in our group to happen my way into the zombie festivities. Here are photos of people preparing for the affair.

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Zombie Walk Mendoza 2013

Happy Halloween, Everyone! I hope you enjoy!

Copyright 2013 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com

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Traveling from Chile to Argentina

We flew from Santiago to Mendoza over the Andes. Both countries told stories of the road poorly tended by the other neighbor. In the States, we’d heard the whole thing was hairy. So we flew.

Most of the people in the three rows surrounding me on the plane clearly would have starved refusing to eat human flesh. In the fourth row back there was one man I was certain would have quickly eaten us all. Looking down at the snow covered mountains, I was clear I’d be one of the people to hike out. I’m from Alaska. It would be required. People in the States emailed me to ask, what was your plan in case you crashed?

the Andes

crossing the Andes

There are many more wines from Chile to write about but I’ll come back to those with more time.

Walking Downtown Mendoza

We had an afternoon to explore Mendoza on our own. Any time alone on press trips is a god send, even when the group of people is easy to get along with it’s an experience to have time in silence. In the midst of a ten day trip, it feels even more rare. I decided to walk alone in silence looking for photos of people, and the streets in downtown.

Here are pictures of downtown Mendoza, Argentina, a town hugged up against the Andes, on the Western side of the country. Though most of our stay was comfortable, that afternoon a hot wind blew in making the city humid and sticky.

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza

This photo is one of my favorites. There was such a connection of the mother and boy walking together through town bringing home their flowers at the end of the work day.

Mendoza

I’m grateful I caught this moment — a priest so focused on where ever it is he’s going. It was such a surprise to catch it, and yet so easy, just another moment of someone walking through town.

Mendoza

This photo is another favorite. This man was sitting in silence on his own in the middle of the city non-descript. He struck me as handsome and restful, so I asked if I could take his picture. In less than a moment he lit up bashful and pleased that I wanted to take his photo, asking if he could take mine instead–all communicated across few words and a language barrier. His composure went from almost invisible to lit up radiant, and all I could do was smile in return. It’s moments like this I treasure — something so simple that can shift the feeling of an entire day.

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Cheers!

Missing Mendoza.

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Visiting Leyda on a Freezing Fog Day

We’d been warm earlier that same afternoon just 45 minutes drive inland in Casablanca but the coast surrounded us with afternoon fog. Arriving in the first vineyards planted in Leyda Valley, we were welcomed with intense cold and humidity, results of the Humboldt Current that stretches along the Chilean coast bringing cold up from Antarctica. Winegrowing is new to the region. The oldest vines less than 15 years old, and considered one of the important recent innovations of the country’s quality wine.

Leyda

Prior to 1998, no vines grew in the Leyda Valley, 80 minutes drive Northwest from Santiago. A small village surrounded by pasture land rested in the region that had once been a rest stop on a vacationers’ train ride. In 1998, the Viña Leyda team identified the area as home for potential cool climate viticulture and began extensive soil studies, followed by planting.

Leyda

In 2001, the same team filed paperwork for a new designation, the Leyda Valley zone of San Antonio Valley. The Leyda DO was born within the coastal region of Aconcagua. Since, the sector has proven home to quality wine production unique to the country and other producers have joined Viña Leyda. Though the majority of vines through the area are still young, the quality of wines showing proves already pleasing while also promising, offering some of the finest cool climate viticulture in Chile. As vines age, quality should deepen. Leyda is an area to seek wines from now, while also keeping an eye on.

Leyda

looking towards the indiscernible coast–on a clear day it’s visible

Viña Leyda has primarily established Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay through the region, with small plots of Riesling and Syrah also growing. What began as an 80 hectare project has expanded to 230 hectares today. The plantings stand at 180 m/590 ft in elevation, receiving cool night temperatures, heavy morning fog, and afternoon ocean breezes.

Leyda

Water concerns in growing regions are a common theme in Chile. To establish the Leyda project, petitions were filed to divert water from the Maipo River through an 8 kilometer pipeline. In bringing water for the vineyards, running water was also established for the nearby village of Leyda for the first time. The Viña Leyda team is in the process of working with the village on further development projects.

Leyda

Winemaker Viviana Navarrete explains that each small block of their 230 hectares are vinified separately. The commitment of the overall project is to learn a new region thoroughly, and in so doing generate the finest quality the place has to offer. Towards those ends, ferments are done in small lots tracked to vineyard sections. Such information is returned too to future vineyard planning. All vineyard work is hand done.

Leyda

Vineyard manager, Tomas Rivera, brought us far into the vineyard to showcase one of the regions gifts–the soil. As he explained, the team sees their Leyda site as offering three terroirs in one — the site is very close to the ocean, it contains a predominance of alluvial soils, and incorporates lots of rocks and stones. With the proximity to the ocean frost does not impact the area. With the intense fog, ripening occurs slowly allowing integration of characteristics in the fruit.

Looking into the hole, Tomas shows us three levels of soil — in the top 20 cm/7.8 in, the ground is predominately sandy loam; the mid-zone holds more rocks while also more clay and decomposed fertile soil; below 80 cm/31.5 in granitic soils, alluvial rocks appear. Limestone also bands through portions of the vineyard. The granite offers great tension to the core of the wine, the limestone intensifying length. The clay in the mid-zone means even during long periods without rain, roots are able to absorb water.

The wines of Viña Leyda, across a range of styles, share a stimulating mineral focus, with almost sinewy structure and vibrant flavors. The Pinots are nice quality, and enjoyable, but my favorite rested in the single vineyard Sauvignon Blancs, which show a complexity and interest rarely discussed in what can be an under appreciated grape.

More on the wines of Viña Leyda in a future post.

***

Thank you to Viviana Navarrete, Leandro Remedi, and Tomas Rivera.

Thank you to Marilyn Krieger, David Greenberg, and Alfredo Bartholomaus.

Copyright 2013 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com