One of Chile’s largest wine regions, Central Valley stretches for almost 250 miles, from just south of Santiago to the southern end of the Maule Valley. Covering many different terroirs, it produces a range of different styles, largely from international varietals (in addition to Carmenere). However, recently there has also been more exploration of the potential of cool-climate areas of the Valley for more aromatic varietals.
Bodegas Volcanes de Chile was founded in 2009 with a single mission: to create wine from grapes grown in Chile’s distinctive volcanic soils. Head Winemaker Pilar Diaz describes their philosophy as ‘To produce wines which reflect this unique and carefully studied origin and display the purity of the grape varietals without excessive use of oak. For us the volcanic character is an attribute which makes our wines more vibrant and richer with greater complexity in aromas and on the palate.’ Chile has over 2,900 volcanoes meaning that this bodega sources from vineyards across the country. Each grower produces grapes that uniquely reflect their own terroir, giving winemakers an enviable range of options to choose from.
In the Rapel valley (Cachapoal), Almahue area, the Grenache vines have been planted on steep slopes composed of volcanic rocks, andesitic and basaltic lava, pyroclastic rocks and breccia, interstratified with sedimentary rock of marine origin. This is a very warm area, ideal for this type of variety with its structured tannins, fostering highly concentrated and perfectly ripe grapes. The plots of Petite Sirah are located in the coastal mountain range, close to Melipilla, in the Maipo valley. They have soils formed from intrusive rocks from the coastal batholith, less evolved soils, high in clay with less presence of decomposed granite. This area is a little cooler, resulting in grapes with great aromatic intensity and bringing out the floral aromas and smooth, ripe tannins of the variety. The Mourvèdre vines are also in the coastal mountain range, but further south, in the Cauquenes area of the Maule valley. The slopes here are composed of intrusive material with a high presence of granite, clay and quartz. The soils in this area are more evolved.
The grapes are hand-harvested into 12 kg bins and each variety was processed separately. After crushing, the grapes undergo a pre-fermentative cold
maceration for around 7 days at 6°C-8°C, followed by the alcoholic fermentation using selected yeasts under strict temperature control. Once the fermentation finishes, a short post-fermentative maceration take place to enhance the structure and the polymerization of the tannins. The total time in the tank is 25-28 days. Then, each wine is transferred into French oak barrels (20% new, plus second and third use), where the malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine is aged for 12 months.
Intense violet in colour, the nose reveals aromas of wildflowers, herbs and spice (oregano and cinnamon), black cherry, raspberry, and strawberry. There are also notes of smoke, tobacco, and minerals. Full-bodied with a structure featuring rich, velvety, and energetic tannins, the finish is dense, elegant, complex and persistent.
Ideal accompanying steak, stews, roasted pork belly and game, as well as pasta dishes, cheese, charcuterie and Harira.
|Grape Variety (s)|