The effervescent palate and the intensely mineral and salty character defines the 2019 Las Pizarras Chardonnay from the Aconcagua Costa appellation, which makes it one of the finest, most elegant and complex whites from South America. The parameters here are mind boggling: 13% alcohol, a pH of 3.01 and 8.47 grams of acidity measured in tartaric acid, which means contained ripeness, austerity and exceptional freshness, which they achieved through a very early harvest and only partial malolactic.
The grapes ripened slowly given the cooler temperatures of February and March and were picked between the 21st and 26th of February. It was not that warm in Aconcagua Costa, where it was moderately warm after a really cold 2018. The whole clusters were pressed, the juice put to decant naturally and then fermented in French barriques (19% of them 400-liter and new), where it matured for 13 months.
Like the rest of the barrel-fermented Chardonnays, there is no trace of oak, and the wine has a subtle and elegant profile, with complexity and depth despite its young age. One-fourth of the volume went through malolactic fermentation, and the wine has volume, length and freshness. It's crystalline and symmetric and has terrific balance and all the ingredients for a nice development in bottle.
It's elegant and subtle, more serious and less exuberant than in cooler years. It has a long and dry finish with a mineral and saline sensation that makes it very tasty, with citrus notes in the aftertaste. This is superb, more like the 2017 and 2015. Somehow, this wine seems to work better in warmer years. 5,144 bottles were filled in May 2020.
Drink 2021 - 2030
Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (August 2021)
The 2019 Chardonnay Las Pizarras comes from Manzanar, Aconcagua, and was fermented with native yeasts before aging for 14 months in French oak, 20% of it new. Made in a Burgundy style, it is a pale greenish yellow in hue with an austere nose of green apple and hints of ginger, linden blossom and acacia, followed, after a while, by creamed corn. Concentrated but taut on the palate (total acid of 8.47 with a pH of 3.01), it flows easily, maintaining the malic character. A highlight for the variety in Chile.
Drink 2022 - 2026
Joaquin Hidalgo, vinous.com (May 2021)
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 often seen as the king 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.