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2013 De Martino 347 Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley
Scores and Reviews
De Martino is one of the most progressive and exciting names on the Chilean wine scene, deservedly named Chilean Winery of the year in 2011. Through a network of intellectual partnerships and vineyard acquisition, it has quickly built up a reputation for organic viticulture of the highest quality, farming from over 350 different vineyards.
The corporate vision focuses on sustainability, terroir, and, by logical extension, excellence. By concentrating on the very best sites for the varieties in question, be they in Limari, Elqui or Maipo, and by the development of a world class winemaking team, De Martino now sits at the very top of the Chilean vinous hierarchy.
The Alto Piedras vineyards make up 5 hectares of the sub-Denominacion of the Isla de Maipo, a de facto island as the vines are surrounded by two branches of the Maipo River. Two other self-evident truths are located in the nomenclature; firstly that the terrain is rocky, volcanic gravel to be precise and secondly that the vines are quite high up. Chile’s indigenous grape, Carmenère, is here aged for 18 months in new French oak.
An important white grape in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley that has now found fame in New Zealand and now Chile. It thrives on the gravelly soils of Bordeaux and is blended with Sémillon to produce fresh, dry, crisp Bordeaux Blancs, as well as more prestigious Cru Classé White Graves.
It is also blended with Sémillon, though in lower proportions, to produce the great sweet wines of Sauternes. It performs well in the Loire Valley and particularly on the well-drained chalky soils found in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, where it produces bone dry, highly aromatic, racy wines, with grassy and sometimes smoky, gunflint-like nuances.
In New Zealand, Cloudy Bay in the 1980s began producing stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines with extraordinarily intense nettly, gooseberry, and asparagus fruit, that set Marlborough firmly on the world wine map. Today many producers are rivalling Cloudy Bay in terms of quality and Sauvignon Blanc is now New Zealand`s trademark grape.
It is now grown very successfully in Chile producing wines that are almost halfway between the Loire and New Zealand in terms of fruit character. After several false starts, many South African producers are now producing very good quality, rounded fruit-driven Sauvignon Blancs.
Casablanca valley is located approximately 1 hour west of Santiago, south of Aconcagua and north of San Antonio Valley, well-exposed to the cool Pacific ocean breezes. It is Chile's first cool-climate wine producing region, with an internationally established reputation since the early 1990s for its arresting, vibrant, mouth-watering white wines, made predominantly from Chardonnay (over 75%) and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Viogner and Riesling, exotically perfumed and richly flavoured.
Early morning fog (the result of the Pacific's icy Humboldt current) keeps temperatures low and adds moisture in an otherwise dry terrain. Midday breezes clear the fog, allowing the sunshine to reach and ripen the grapes.
A host of producers tend nearly 4,000 hectares of vines in the valley, which offers a myriad of microclimates. The higher, warmer, frost-free sections are suitable for red varieties like Merlot and Carmenere, while the lower, cooler areas produce excellent fruit for cool-climate grapes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
In acknowledgment of certain similarities between Casablanca and California's Napa Valley, the two valleys signed a viticultural alliance in 2002.
Recommended producer: De Martino
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