2017 Clos Apalta

Year: 2017
Appellation: Colchagua Valley
Country: Chile
Wine Advocate: 95
James Suckling: 100
Red Wine

DUE IN: DEC. 2020

Price :

"The 2017 Clos Apalta is the 20th vintage of this wine that was produced with a blend of 48% Carmenere, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot from organic and biodynamic certified vineyards on granite soils. It fermented with indigenous yeasts for four to five weeks, with manual punch-down of the cap, mostly in 7,500-liter French oak vats and 18% in new French barrique. Malolactic was in new French oak barrels, and the élevage lasted for 27 months in 85% new barrels and 15% second use. This is always a powerful, big and ripe wine that is regularly 15% alcohol, reflecting a warm and ripe place. The 2017 is no exception, perhaps a riper and more powerful wine than the 2016. It's still very young and marked by the élevage, with abundant balsamic aromas and notes from the wood—spice and smoke with an ashy touch. It seems quite marked by the character of the Carmenere. The tannins are quite round and polished, and the flavors are pungent and powerful. It's a full-bodied wine to age in in bottle and enjoy in its 10th birthday with powerful food. 90,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2019.

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)

"What a stunning nose of crushed berries, fresh flowers, sandalwood and light vineyard dust. Black olives, too. Very complex. Full-bodied with a beautiful, dense palate of blackberries, chocolate, walnuts and cigar box. Fantastic length and composure. The tannin just rolls over the palate. Very structured. The most classically structured wine ever from here. Goes on for minutes. Outrageous and so polished. A blend of 48% carmenere, 26% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot and 1% petit verdot. Try after 2025." (JS)