2011 Errazuriz Chardonnay Wild Ferment

Year: 2011
Appellation: Casablanca Valley
Country: Chile
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 90
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$15.95
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"This ripe white leads with layers of smoke and spice to the ripe pineapple, melon and pear notes. A savory finish offsets the rich palate. Drink now. 1,300 cases imported." (WS)

"The 2011 Wild Ferment Chardonnay sourced from Aconcagua is fermented in French oak, 5% new, then aged for 10 months. It has a taut, minimalist bouquet with citric peel and freshly cut lime, while the palate offers ripe mango and passion fruit, crisp acidity and a clean, apricot and peach tinged finish. This is a fine, flavorsome Chardonnay. Drink now-2015.

It was a pleasure to spend two or three hours in the company of Eduardo Chadwick at his estate and undertake verticals of his wines. Few have done more to promote Chilean wine than him, most notably with his blind comparisons with First Growth to demonstrate that Sena stands shoulder to shoulder with Old World icons. As you might guess, we had a long debate about that! But also, we engaged in a long discussion about viticulture and the philosophy behind his portfolio. Readers may remark on my relatively mean scores. I thought long and hard about this. But I firmly feel that recent vintages from Errazuriz completely outshine the older ones and speaking at length with winemaker Francisco Baettig, there is a sense of a winery changing tack and in my opinion, what this estate will produce in the next twenty years will completely surpass the previous twenty years." (WA)

Winery Notes:
The La Escultura vineyard is located west of the city of Santiago in the Valley de Casablanca and just 32 km (20 mi) from the Pacific Ocean. The valley has a coastal influence that moderates temperatures during the ripening period. Summer is moderately warm, with early morning fog and cool coastal breezes in the afternoon that encourage slow ripening of the grapes, which helps to preserve natural flavours and aromas and ensures good levels of acidity. These conditions make the Valle de Casablanca a privileged place for producing cold climate varieties such as Chardonnay. The fine clay and sandy-loam soils have low vigour potential. The vertically-trained, drip-irrigated vineyard was planted in 1997 with clones 96 and 548, which produce different styles of grapes that enhance the complexity of the final blend.

Average temperatures in La Escultura this year were slightly higher than last year’s and the past three years’ average. The decrease in production was primarily due to poor induction of the buds that burst in spring 2010, the product of the low temperatures in November 2009. This, in addition to a very cold spring 2010 that affected the differentiation of buds as well as fruit set produced lighter-weight bunches with fewer set berries. The challenge for white grapes was two-fold. On the one hand, we had to be careful not to wait too long for the delayed and somewhat heterogeneous phenolic maturation, and on the other we had to refrain from performing pre-fermentation macerations to prevent potential phenolic and bitter notes. In regard to the effects of the climate on the quality of the wines, the whites display very intense fruit and very good acidity, leading to juicy and refreshing wines.