Country: Chile Region: Colchagua Valley Vintage: 2015
Category: Red Wine Color: Red Varietal: Merlot
"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 Merlot grapes come from Montes' own vineyards in Marchigüe located in the Colchagua Valley. As with other regions in Chile, the ocean plays a role even at 25km away, with cool breezes moderating this warm area. The sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system, developed by Aurelio and his team, which allows for precise and minimal irrigating, reducing their water footprint by 65%. Marchigüe is dry, lying in the rain shadow of the Coastal Range, with low fungal disease pressure resulting in consistently healthy harvests.
The grapes were cold soaked at 10°C for seven days to extract aroma and colour. After that, the grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 8-10 days and then kept on their skins for another 15-20 days to give structure and colour. After malolactic fermentation, 55% of the final blend was aged in French oak barrels (25% new and the rest second fill) for 12 months to add complexity and roundness to the wine.
Intense aromas of ripe cherries, strawberries, blackcurrants and red plums. The oak ageing adds subtle layers of vanilla and mocha, which harmonise with the fruit, as well as giving nutty notes and sweet spices. Soft tannins on the palate, with good structure and volume.
Food Suggestion: An exemplary match for duck breasts, lamb and pork chops or lamb masala.
Closure: Stelvin Lux ABV: 14.5% Acidity [g/l]: 5.58