2017 Clos Apalta Le Petit Clos

Year: 2017
Appellation: Colchagua Valley
Country: Chile
Wine Advocate: 93+
James Suckling: 96
Red Wine

DUE IN: DEC. 2020

Price :

"The second wine, in the Bordeaux sense, the 2017 Le Petit Clos has a different blend from the grand vin, in this case 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Carmenere, 9% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot and is quite different every year. It fermented in 7,500-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and a four- to five-week maceration followed by malolactic in new barriques. It matured in new French barriques for six months and spent the next 16 months in first, second and third use French oak barrels. I found a lot less influence from the oak here than in the "grand vin" and a more classical profile with dominance of the Cabernet Sauvignon—ripe without excess, powerful and concentrated but with very good balance. It's quite approachable even when it feels quite youthful; the tannins are round, and the wine is neat and velvety with some creaminess. It has an elegant profile within the powerful character of the vintage. It surpassed my expectations, and I find it every bit as good as the 2016. 72,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in October 2019. This has only been produced since 2014.

Andrea León takes over the technical management of Clos Apalta as of June 2020, so I expect some changes in the wines in future vintages. They have a total of 160 hectares planted in Apalta, but their wines come from a selection of the best plots, 48 hectares, of which 16 are very old, dry-farmed and ungrafted vines planted between 1915 and 1940. The average production is 100,000 bottles. The wines are sold through the Bordeaux négociants.

The wines released in September 2020 are from the 2017 vintage, the driest year in Apalta in the last 15 years. The drought was complicated by some of the highest temperatures ever. These extreme conditions favored the development of wild fires that burned an incredible 600,000 hectares of forest and shrubbery. Many vineyards were tainted by smoke, but not the ones from Apalta. It was a warm vintage of high ripeness and healthy grapes." (WA)

"This is so delicious with blackcurrants, spice, sweet tobacco, lavender and roses. Full-bodied, tight and very polished with gorgeous texture and finesse. Shows tannin tension at the end. A blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon, the rest cabernet franc. Better after 2022." (JS)

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