WS 89 points
The vineyards destined to produce our Montes Alpha Chardonnay are located in the Casablanca Valley, within the Aconcagua wine region. This valley is known for its recognizable gustatory sensations, which collectively known as “cold climate typicity.” This basically consists of notes of asparagus, citrus, and a tremendous sensation of freshness on the palate. All of the vineyards are trellised to vertical shoot position and drip irrigated. Yields naturally range from 8,000 to 9,000 kg per hectare without the need for crop thinning. This low natural fruit load ensures us that the grapes will be very well distributed on the vines and be well ventilated, which in turn results in healthy grapes that ripen evenly.
Harvest Date: The entire month of April. The 2012–2013 season was colder than the previous year during budbreak, flowering, and fruitset. Spring presented greater rainfall than the past year, which stimulated a faster and more vigorous onset of vegetative growth (budbreak). The vegetative growth obligated us to take measures to control growth through carefully regulated shoot removal and trimming to prevent microclimates within the canopy that could create optimal conditions for the development of fungal diseases. January and part of February (veraison and ripening periods) were almost entirely cloudy, although there was no rainfall. This resulted in a delayed and very slow veraison, which in turn delayed the harvest by a little more than 10 days. Certain agricultural tasks were required during the ripening period to ensure the grapes reached harvest in a healthy and evenly ripened state. One such measure was partial leaf pulling in the area around the bunches to improve ventilation and sunlight in order to obtain more sugars and ultimately a greater sense of creaminess in the fruit.
The grapes were hand picked into 300-kg containers during the early hours of the morning so that the grapes would reach the cellar at the coolest temperature possible. Upon arrival the bunches were carefully selected and the grapes destemmed. Chardonnay grapes can be processed in two ways. The most common is by direct (whole cluster) pressing to obtain the must, which is then allowed to decant. Cold maceration (below 10ºC) is only used in lots picked at the optimal ripeness and lasts no more than 4 hours. The juice obtained from the press and maceration (if applicable) is transferred to a tank for static decantation, and 24 hours later the clean must is racked to its definitive fermentation tank. The juice is inoculated with cereviciae yeasts to trigger fermentation, which lasts 15–17 days at 13º–14ºC. Nearly 60% of the components of the final blend ferment in new and second-use barrels. Once the fermentation is complete, 70–75% of the lots that will go into the blend are sulfited to fully stop the yeast action and to protect the wine against oxidation. The remaining (unsulfited) portion receives lactic bacteria, which will transform the wine’s malic acid into lactic acid. This portion allows us to obtain wines that are softer and more voluminous on the palate with greater aromatic and flavor complexity. Just 40% of the wine comes into contact with new and second-use French oak barrels for 8–10 months. The wine undergoes protein and tartaric stabilization processes to ensure it remains healthy in the bottle and preserve its optimal appearance. Prior to bottling the wine is filtered through sterile membranes that provide further assurance of microbiological safety and stability in the bottle.
Very distinguished golden color. The nose offers outstanding notes of ripe tropical fruits, “golden berries,” bananas, peaches, apricots and grapefruit, along with the asparagus notes that are characteristic of Chardonnay from Casablanca. Its 10 months in contact with French oak also confers elegant notes of toast and vanilla and heightens the lactic notes of butter and toffee. The palate is fresh with pleasing acidity, medium volume, and a long and very pleasing finish.
Denomination of Origin: Casablanca Valley.
Clones Selection: Clones 76 and 95.
Filtering: Sterile cartridge (membrane) filtering.
Vineyard Yields: 8–9 ton/hectare (3–3.4 ton/acre).
Grape Variety: 100% Chardonnay Barrel Aging: 40% of the components of this wine were aged for 8–10 months in first and second-use oak barrels.
Cellaring Recommendations: Keep in a cool, dry place at no more than 15º C (59º F) and away from light sources.
Recommended Serving Temperature: 12º–13ºC (54º– 56ºF).
Decanting: Not required.
Food Pairing: This is a very versatile wine. It is highly recommended with salmon tartare, lobster, fresh shellfish, ripe cheeses, and with hot dishes such as crab gratin and mildly sauced white meats and pastas.
Total Acidity (H2SO4) 3.4 g/lt.
Residual Sugar 2.4 g/lt. pH 3.25 g/lt.
Volatile Acidity (C2H4O2) 0.48 g/lt
Free SO2 0.03 g/lt