2016 Errazuriz, Las Pizarras, Chardonnay, Aconcagua Costa, Chile
Luis Gutirrez - 31/10/2018
About this WINE
Vina Errazuriz was established by Don Maximiano Errazuriz in 1870 and today the company is run by his descendent, Eduardo Chadwick. The company has four separate estates, with its original estate and spiritual heartland being in the Panquehue sub-region of the Aconcagua Valley. Here the vines benefit from the cool and rainy winters, as well as the warm summers. Most importantly, the majority of the vineyards are situated on slopes, which ensures that the grapes reach optimum ripeness.
Californian winemaker Ed Flaherty joined in 1997 and he has taken the wines to new heights, largely through fine-tuning vineyard practices and by reducing yields.
Without doubt one of the very best Chilean producers.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
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I had the luck of tasting two vintages of the Chardonnay from slate/schist soils side by side, including the 2016 Aconcagua Costa Las Pizarras Chardonnay. The juice from the whole clusters decanted for 24 hours, fermented in oak barrels with indigenous yeasts and then aged in barriques for 14 months. It's a little more compressed than the 2017 and has good, vibrant flavors with some floral notes and some gentler flavors, perhaps more similar to the 2014, with the austere schist minerality but with more volume and juicy fruit. There is a little more malolactic in this year. If people have the idea that 2015 is warmer than 2016 and that 2017 is again warmer, the character of these Aconcagua Costa bottlings is the opposite: 2015 and 2017 are fresher, and 2016 is a little warmer. This sometimes happens, as the cooler years are harvested later and the warmer ones see an earlier harvest, so that the wines are exactly the opposite of what you expect. This is great, and its only problem is being tasted next to the 2017, which is otherworldly. 5,000 bottles were filled in May 2017.
Luis Gutirrez - 31/10/2018
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