Country: Chile Region: Colchagua Valley Vintage: 2013
Category: Red Wine Color: Red
"The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, first produced in 1987, broke the mould for premium wines in Chile. It was a modern expression of a classic grape which illustrated that Chile could produce wines that stood shoulder to shoulder with what their competitors around the world were making. Since then, Alpha has gone from being a single wine to being the core range in the Montes portfolio. The grapes and sites are carefully selected each year in order to ensure varietal integrity and complexity. Viticulture is hands on and individual rather than mechanical and industrial and the Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot and Syrah sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system, developed by Aurelio and his team, which allows for extremely precise and minimal irrigation, reducing their water footprint by 65%. This approach reduced yields and resulted in smaller bunches and berries, which in turn resulted in wines with deeper colour and more depth, flavour and structure.
The result is a range of wines that offer superb value within the premium wine market - whether from Chile or anywhere else. The Alpha Chardonnay is ripe and melony, while the Pinot Noir, from grapes close to the coast rather than inland (where Sena is made), is fragrant and supple, a classic expression of cool climate Pinot. The fuller reds, which need of greater ripeness, are all from Colchagua, an area that Aurelio Montes has long pioneered. The Merlot is ripe and fleshy, while the Cabernet is full yet refined. The Carmenere has plenty of tobacco and supple and grainy tannins, while the Malbec is a superb example of this variety from Chile. The Montes Alpha Brut is a traditional method sparkling wine of outsanding value, made with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay and shows elegant aromatics of ripe citrus fruit, blossom and toast alongside a creamy yet crisp finish."
Winemaker: Aurelio Montes Baseden
The grapes come from Montes' own vineyards in Apalta and Marchigüe, arguably two of the finest sites in the Colchagua Valley. The sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system, developed by Aurelio and his team, which allows for extremely precise and minimal irrigating, reducing their water footprint by 65%. In Apalta, vines are planted on 45° slopes, providing good exposure. Cool breezes and low night-time temperatures help to moderate this area, allowing for slow fruit development and retention of varietal aromas and acidity. Marchigüe is cooler because of its proximity to the ocean. Conditions are dry, reducing the threat of disease and resulting in consistently healthy harvests. All grapes were hand harvested.
The grapes were cold soaked for five days to extract aromas, before fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 12 days. The juice then spent time on its skins to develop structure and colour. After malolactic fermentation, 50% of the final blend was aged in French oak barrels (1/3rd new) for 12 months to add complexity and roundness.
Deep ruby red colour and a violet hue. Aromas of ripe black and blue fruits such as blackberries and blueberries appear first, followed by sweet spices such as nutmeg and cloves. A clear note of violets blends with a hint of liquorice. Subtle notes of butterscotch and caramel from the French oak round out the aromatic profile. The palate is balanced and lush with smooth tannins and a long, lingering finish.
Food Suggestion: Grilled pork, particularly if barbecued. Also very good with beef stew or Mexican mole dishes.
Closure: Stelvin Lux ABV:14% Acidity [g/l]: 5.7