Maule Valley, Terra Noble, 2017
Lahuen is the name of a tree only found in Chile (Patagonia). The "Lahuen" wine represents the reference of the winery Terranoble, the quantities are very limited. The very best plots are used to produce this wine; the vines naturally produce no more than 1 kg of grapes per vine. The complex notes of black berries, eucalyptus, mint and black pepper alternate on the palate. Perfect balance, soft tannins and great complexity. Very long and fine finish.
|Origin:||Chile / Valle Central / Maule|
|Grape variety:||Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Merlot|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 8 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Châteaubriand, Filet Wellington, Roast veal with morel sauce, Roast saddle of venison, Wild fowl|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection|
|Maturation:||in new barriques|
|Maturation duration:||12 months|
Soon after their arrival, the first Spanish colonists were already remarking the ideal vine growing conditions in Chile. In this country of great contrasts, embedded between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the many wine regions differ significantly through micro-climate, topography and altitudes, and geological properties. TerraNoble owns vineyards in three different regions and so can provide different varieties with the most suitable growing conditions.
The big estate La Higuera stands in the Maule valley, in the southern part of the Central valley, some 250 Km from the capital Santiago, and cultivates a wide range of grape varieties. Further north, a Mediterranean climate nurses the Colchagua Valley which fits particularly well to the needs of the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Carmenère and the Syrah grapes: in Los Lingues at the foot of the Andes where the offset temperature reaches 20°C between night and day, and in Los Cactus along the coastline. The Casablanca Valley, strongly influenced by the nearby Pacific with morning fog and little rain, is more suiting for other varieties like the Chardonnay or the Sauvignon Blanc.
Bordeaux’s secret weapon
It is commonly said that the Petit Verdot originated in Bordeaux. But genetically, it is closer to a group of vines from near the Pyrenees, which are most likely descended from wild clematis. In French, these wild plants are called “lambrusques”, and the Petit Verdot is also known under the synonym Lumbrusquet. It is a high quality grape: very dark and spicy with notes of cassis and graphite, plenty of robust tannins and strong acidity. Most major Bordeaux contain a small proportion of Petit Verdot. Appropriately, it is valued wherever wines are produced according to the Bordeaux recipe. For example, in Italian Maremma or in California, where it covers the largest area worldwide. It is almost never vinified purely by itself. Incidentally, its name, derived from “vert”, meaning green, alludes to its Achilles heel: in cool weather it tends to form small, seedless green grapes.
The backbone of Bordeaux
The Cabernet Sauvignon gives the Bordeaux its backbone, yielding deep violet wines with powerful tannins and endless ripening potential. It is the top dog in Médoc, and is placed in all five premier crus of Bordelais. When young, it often appears strict and unapproachable, but with advancing years, its tannins round off. It is wonderfully velvety, and yet always maintains its freshness. Typical flavours include cassis, graphite and cedar. Wherever Cabernet Sauvignon is found, Merlot is not far away. It complements the robust structure of Cabernet with softness, fruit and richness. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the most-exported vine in the world. It delivers persuasive qualities in Italy as an ingredient of the Super Tuscan, or as the flagship variety from California. There, it is lovingly titled “Cab Sauv”. Meat fans should be aware that it fantastically accompanies a grilled entrecôte. The family tree of Cabernet Sauvignon is surprising: its parents are Cabernet Franc and the white Sauvignon blanc.
Merlot is the most charming member of the Bordeaux family. It shines with rich colour, fragrant fullness, velvety tannins and sweet, plummy fruit. It even makes itself easy for the vintner, as it matures without issue in cool years as well. This is in contrast to the stricter Cabernet Sauvignon, which it complements as a blending partner. Its good qualities have made the Merlot famous worldwide. At over 100,000 hectares, it is the most-planted grape in France. It also covers large areas in California, Italy, Australia and recently in Eastern Europe. The only catch is that pure Merlot varieties rarely turn out well. Its charm is often associated with a lack of substance. Only the best specimens improve with maturity. They then develop complex notes of leather and truffles. This succeeds in the top wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and those from Ticino, among others.
The Carmenère had to emigrate to become famous. Once, it belonged to the main red varieties in Bordeaux. But it was not particularly loved by vintners there. It matured poorly, yielded little return and often turned out harsh and herbaceous. For this reason, it was replaced after the phylloxera epidemic by more low-maintenance varieties. Meanwhile, it found its way to Chile. In the warm climate of South America, the wines suddenly presented deep blackberry fruit, chocolate notes and velvety tannins. These were joined by a fine eucalyptus note, which became its trademark. The catch: for a long time, no-one knew that this had to be done with Carmenère. Instead, wine growers kept their vine stocks for Merlot. Since the error became apparent in 1997, this variety has experienced a phenomenal upturn. In Bordeaux as well, some châteaux are incorporating a dash of Carmenère in their grand crus.
A hint of pepper
The legend stubbornly persists that the Syrah variety came from the Persian city of Shiraz. Yet, researchers have shown that it is a natural crossing of two old French varieties: the red Dureza from the Rhône Valley and the white Mondeuse blanche from Savoy. Wines from Syrah are gentle and concentrated. They smell of dark berries, violets and liquorice, and amaze with a piquant touch of white pepper. As varietal wines, they are found on the northern Rhone, as in the Hermitage or Côte Rôtie appellations, as well as in Swiss Valais. In the southern Rhône Valley, Syrah is often wedded with Grenache and Mourvèdre. In 1832, a Frenchman brought the variety to Australia, where it became the emblem of the national wine industry. There, the weightiest versions develop with typical notes of tar and chocolate.
Maule: the heart of Chilean viticulture
With a cultivation area of nearly 30,000 hectares, Chile's largest wine cultivation area is also the southernmost sub-region of the Valle Central. Situated roughly 250 kilometers south of the capital of Santiago, the Cabernet Sauvignon variety and the Chilean specialty, Carménère, demonstrate their excellent potential here. Spanish immigrants in Maule had already established the first vineyards in the 16th century. In the last 20 years, the trend has moved towards fruitier wines with slightly lower alcohol content.
Valle Central: the heart of Chilean viticulture
Valle Central comprises the four most important wine-growing areas in Chile. It starts in the southern outlying districts of the capital, Santiago, and stretches around 400 kilometres to the south, ending at the city of Parral. Red Bordeaux varieties occupy over 70 percent of total vineyard area. Depending on how strongly the particular microclimate is influenced by the cool influence of the Andes or the Pacific, stylistically varied wines result. Specialties like Carménère, Syrah and Carignan are gaining ground.
Chile – Where fortune came from tragedy
Wine-growing in Chile was born less out of economic reasons than lifestyle. Like the rest of the world, its aristocratic landowners admired everything that came out of France. They imitated French culture, built their haciendas in French architectural styles, and took trips to France. In 1851, the first French vines were brought back and formed the basis for producing quality wines.