Taste an Albariño Duo
Winery: Chan de Rosas (Spain, Rias Baixas)
Winemaker: Famed producer Marcos Lojo was born in the Salnés Valley, a region of Pontevedra considered the cradle of Albariño. He spent much of his career exploring the unique terroirs and expressions of the region and is very much an authority on Albariño. Today he is technical director overseeing the production of the wines of Premium Fincas, a viticultural group based in Hong Kong that has wineries in Rioja, Ribera del Ruedo, and Rueda.
The Grapes: The experience and the knowledge he obtained of the area and the Albariño grape led to the selection of 12 Salnés Valley winemakers with vineyards in privileged lands producing high quality fruit. Some of the vineyards are planted for more than 70 years in the areas of: A Carabuxeira (Sanxenxo), Padrenda (Meaño), Cabeza de Boi (Meis), A Pedreira (Sisán) Castrelo (Cambados) and Lores (Meaño).
The Climate: The Designation of Origin (D.O.) Rias Baixas is fully integrated into the great Atlantic region, with four full seasons providing a great variance of temperature and rainfall, and moderated by the influence of the Gulf Stream. In Winter, Atlantic storms arrive bringing heavy rainfall and with little marked differences between day and night temperatures. Spring is early and rainy. In early summer the Azores anticyclone settles over the western Atlantic, preventing the passage of atmospheric disturbances. Rainfall is infrequent and temperatures are consistent. In this season the soils are dry and the vines become mildly stressed from the increased temperature and because of the sandy soil that helps drainage. In autumn, just after harvest, the storms arrive again one after another, refreshing the soils and vines before winter’s hibernation period.
Terroir/Soil: The Rías Baixas and in particular the vineyards where the Chan de Rosas grapes grow, are located next to the Ria de Arousas Sea. The soil is shallow but well-drained, formed from the decomposition of the granitic rocks, resulting in a sandy soil and acidic structure. Both the location of the land and the type of soil provides the wines with characteristic albariño notes of crisp fruits, salinity and minerality.
Carménère+ v 100% Carménère
Winery: Calcu (Chile)
Calcu means “healing doctor” or “magician” in the local Mapuche language and the wine produced here emphasizes the diversity of Chile’s Colchagua Valley. The fruit is always a combination of the family’s estate fruit, and locally sourced, sustainable grapes from quality Colchagua growers. Calcu produces exuberant wines that are fresh and fruity, but also elegant.
Calcu Reserva Especial Carmenere comes from the hills of Marchigue. Here the breeze from the Pacific Ocean moderates the climate in the growing season providing broad diurnal temperatures which results in concentrated and fresh flavors in the grapes. The Reserva Especial is a full-bodied, fruity wine with elegant balance and present, but smooth tannins. 80% of the wine has aged on second and third use French oak barrels and the rest, 20%, on stainless steel tanks to ensure that the pure character of the grape is experienced.
Winery Maquis (Chile, Colchagua Valley)
Winemaker: The Hurtado family has owned the Viña Maquis vineyard for more than a century, but it wasn’t until almost 20 years ago that the family decided to make their own wine out of the terrific grapes in their own backyard. They built a state-of-the-art gravity flow winery and set out to make the Maquis winery one of the great properties in all of South America.
Located in Colchagua Valley, the winery’s focus is on distinctive single-vineyard, estate wines, as well as producing “balanced” wines that are not over-ripe (resulting in excessively high alcohol) but also not exhibiting any of the “green” character that sometimes plagues wines picked from grapes that have not fully matured. The Maquis main vineyard is essentially an island: it is deeply influenced by the Tinguiririca River on one side and the Chimbarongo Creek on the other. These two large waterways once brought alluvial sediment from the Andes and today act as pathways for cool coastal breezes that help moderate the warm Colchagua summers, contributing to the intensity, character, fruitiness and mineral elements of the Maquis wines. Maquis is fortunate to have such a privileged location.
Since 2005, Maquis has worked with consulting winemaker Xavier Choné, whose specialty is vineyard evaluation. By paying close attention to soil conditions, the spacing of the vines, and the timing of the harvest, Choné’s style of winemaking produces sophisticated wines with concentrated flavors that truly represent the region’s terroir. At Maquis, vineyards are strategically planted and farmed with minimal irrigation with Carmenere in the warmest spots and Cabernet Franc in the cooler areas. Choné works with wineries around the world, including Opus One, Joseph Phelps, and Dominus Estate. Maquis is the only South American winery with which Choné is affiliated.
In addition to Choné, Maquis utilizes the expert blending talents of Bordeaux’s Eric Boissenot. Several times per year Ricardo will travel from Bordeaux to work on the final blends of the Maquis wines with the Eric, who also works with four of Bordeaux’s first growths. He and his late father Jacques were named “Blenders of the Decade” by Decanter magazine.
Explore the Languedoc Roussillon, the IGP: Pays d’Hérault, and more specifically the AOC Terrasses du Larzac
Winery: Domaine de Ferrussac (France, Languedoc Rousillon)
Winemaker: Renaud Rossignol got his start in the vineyards of Domaine de Ferrussac from the age of 10. Wielding his grandfather’s secateurs from an early age, his childhood pleasure was to accompany him to the vineyard, tending to their Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Chenanson, and Censault vines growing at elevations varying from 350 to 600m. Seventeen years later he is now both head winemaker and ranch manager – also tending to a herd of 40 Aubrac cows – who also contribute to vineyard diversity as he works towards full organic and biodynamic certification (already in vineyard management practice today). Respect for the land, the cows, the vines, and the region (in La Vacquerie, on the Causse du Larzac: classified by Unesco as a World Heritage site in 2011) is reflected in his wine. There are five hectares currently under vine and the focus is very much on quality over quantity and on delivering wines that are representative of the region. Only 4.500 bottles (25 hectoliters per hectare vs an average of 65-70 hl/ha in the IGP) are produced each year and always sell out. The Domaine de Ferrussac cellar is situated at 630m where ambient temperatures never exceed 22c and aid in the vinification process. The wines are fresh and rustic at the same time; well balanced and well-structured with aromas of fruit and regional garrigue that linger both in the glass and on the palate.
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Languedoc Roussillon / Terrasses du Larzac: