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2009 Loma Larga Syrah, Casablanca Valley
Loma Larga is owned by the Díaz family, whose interest in wine was noted in the Paris wine exhibition of 1889. Don Manuel Joaquín Díaz Escudero Alvarez de Toledo, grandfather of the current owners of Loma Larga, personally brought French vines to Chile from his successive tours of Paris and Bordeaux. These were originally planted in his estate in the heart of Santiago.
With the intention of keeping this wine tradition alive, the family studied the climate and soil of their Casablancan estate, Loma Larga and, firmly believing in its terroir potential, began planting vines in 1999. They are now recognised as one of the best producers of cool climate red wines in Chile. Loma Larga means ‘long hill’, a reference to the raised vineyard site which benefits from the cooling influence of the wind.
The Lomas del Valle range is also made from estate-grown fruit and offers a brighter, more youthful interpretation of the producer’s house style.
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.
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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