JS 92 points (2011)
The Syrah vineyards destined for our Montes Alpha Syrah are located in the Apalta and Marchigüe sectors of the Colchagua Valley. These two areas have granitic soils with different levels of weathering. Both are quite variable in their clay content, depth, and levels of organic matter. Apalta is very heterogeneous, with zones that are marked by the influence of the Tinguiririca River and others that are influenced by past mud slides and matter that breaks off and slides down from the surrounding mountains. The soils are usually deep on the plain and thinner at the foot of the mountain and higher areas. The preferred Syrah vineyards are located on steep (45º) slopes. Marchigüe has flatter areas and hills with low to moderate slopes. The soils are shallow and in some cases no more than 60 cm (2.4 in) with moderate clay content and a high capacity for water retention. The vineyards are located on moderate slopes with a western exposure. Our Syrah vineyards are planted at a density of 5,555 plants/hectare (2,250/acre) and double guyot trellised for yields of approximately 7,000 kg/hectare (2.8 ton/acre). The leaves closest to the bunches are lightly removed eight weeks before harvest to provide better ventilation and allow more sunlight to help the fruit ripen more evenly.
The 2010–2011 season was very good as the weather was stable throughout the entire growing period. Despite being a year with less rainfall than usual, the absence of spring frost in the Colchagua zone was very favorable. November and December were cooler than normal, which was relevant in obtaining a naturally regulated production due to the lower bunch weight. It was also healthier because the lower yields allowed the bunches to hang freely and receive better ventilation, etc., which also brings with it a series of benefits in terms of quality, such as grapes with deep color concentration and thick skins. Although a small amount of rain fell on a couple of occasions in late April and early May, this did not present problems for the Syrah because the grapes had already established very good fruit balance with smaller than usual yields and good ventilation. The grapes therefore maintained very high quality through the harvest, which took place April 11 through May 11, with optimally ripe tannins and seeds and small berries. The harvest began a week later than it did in the 2009–2010 season because the months of January and February were cooler than usual.
The grapes were hand picked into 300 kg containers during the cool early morning hours. Upon arrival at the cellar, the grapes were crushed into a stainless steel fermentation tank, where they underwent a 7–8-day cold soak at 9ºC (48ºF). During that time the must was homogenized repeatedly to improve the action of the enzymes. It was then inoculated with yeasts to begin the alcoholic fermentation process, which lasted 10–12 days. During that time contact between the juice and the skins was encouraged by very gentle pumpovers that kept the skins constantly hydrated without running the risk of over-extracting the tannins. The new wine is usually kept on its skins for an additional 15 days after fermentation is complete to improve the sensation of roundness in the wines and to give it more time to create the conditions necessary for the malolactic fermentation, which takes place naturally via lactic bacteria. When the wine is ready, it is separated from its skins and racked to another stainless steel tank to complete the malolactic fermentation, which may take 1–3 weeks. When the malic acid has been completely transformed into lactic acid, the wine is sulfited to control any remaining yeast or bacteria. At that time the 55% of the wine is racked to French oak barrels (1st, 2nd, and 3rd use), where it remains for 12 months. The remaining 45% is held in stainless steel tanks. After ageing for 12 months, both portions of the wine are blended once again. The wine is lightly filtered with diatomaceous earth prior to bottling to remove larger sediments, and the sulfur levels are adjusted to maintain optimal conditions in the bottle. Finally, the wine is passed through a membrane filter to remove any remaining yeasts and ensure a long life in the bottle. The newly bottled wine remains in our cellar for 1–2 months prior to shipping to our consumers around the world.
Deep ruby-red with a purplish tone. The nose is fruity and presents aromas of ripe red and black berries, plums in syrup, jam, and notes of leather, smoke, and Serrano ham, as well as chocolate and mocha from the French oak, and a light floral touch from the small amount of Viognier it contains. The palate is nicely balanced with very soft tannins. Remarkable structure and volume with yogurt and toffee flavors derived from the malolactic fermentation and a long and pleasing finish.
Denomination of Origin:
Syrah 90% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Viognier 3%
Alcohol 14.5% v/v
Total Acidity (H2 SO4) 3.55 gr/l.
Residual Sugar 3.02 gr/l.
pH 3.45 gr/l.