Duquesa, Chardonnay, Cachapoal, 2011

  Aristos

The nose tells you straightaway this is serious Chardonnay. New world with a French accent. Ripe and luscious but relatively restrained fruit flavours, for Chile at least. Strong savoury notes of almond, stone and rock salt dominate with touches of sicilian lemon and a twist of pineapple. Full to brim with personality and fleshy but not overblown at all, with a nice perky, fresh acidity on the finish. Beautifully balanced. Their best effort to date. From the Coya vineyard, the highest vineyard in the Andes , at 1100 metres above sea level. The wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels with an emphasis on not allowing the oak influence to be too evident. Just 250 cases were made.

Contains Sulphites.

About Aristos

Aristos meaning "noble" or "excellent" in Ancient Greek is a project born a few years ago out of three people's common passion for making the finest wines possible: Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Domaine du Comte Liger Belair, Francois Massoc (award-winning winemaker of Calyptra in Chile) and Pedro Parra (one of only 8 terroir consultants in the world, the other 7 coming from France, who advises the top wineries in Chile.) Terroir is their focus. Their idea - to find the best terroir possible for each grape variety and produce "Grands Vins" from Chile, based on the idea that a "Grand Vin" has to be "drinkable" not only "tastable." That means wines that are fresh, not too warm or alcoholic and not over-oaked.

They have already found two terroirs for two grape varieties, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both of them hail from the Cachapoal region in Rapel in the Andean foothills, Chardonnay planted at 1100 metres and Cabernet at 900 metres. Only 2 barrels were made of the 2007 Chardonnay, in 2008 250 cases each of the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon have been made. The wines will be "titled" reflecting the nobility of this project and its resultant wines. Chardonnay will be La Duqueza and the Cabernets will be Barone and El Duque.

Appellation: Cachapoal

Cachapoal makes up one half of Chile's Rapel (itself lying in the Central Valley Region), the other being Colcagua. Wines here are overwhelmingly red and the soils are a combination of loam, clay and sand. The area has seen steady improvements in quality and the best vineyards nowadays are located at higher altitudes or planted further west towards Lake Rapel.

Grape Type: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most widely-grown and versatile of all white grape varieties. As a relatively neutral grape, it offers a near transparent map of winemaking style, climate and terroir. It is the ideal grape variety for Burgundy, where it serves to mirror the complex nuances of the myriad of terroirs found in this hallowed land. Chardonnay produces a variety of wines from the minerally and unoaked styles found in Chablis, the fatter nuttier examples in Meursault, to the tropical fruit-driven versions found in the New World. It is also the major grape variety in Champagne, where it produces lively floral wines, namely in the Côte de Blancs. It can be found throughout Europe and the New World thanks to its versatility. As a non-aromatic variety, it has an affinity with oak, whether new or used, French or American.