We asked 3 Concha y Toro winemakers what, in their opinion, is the wine grape that grows best in Chile. Here they give their answers and recommend a wine to prove it.
Isabel Mitarakis: “The Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Valley”
“The variety that grows best and that we could say is Chile’s workhorse, in any case, is Cabernet Sauvignon. A great exponent for this wine grape is the Maipo Valley, which with the influence of the Andes Mountains makes its Mediterranean climate cool at night, allowing the cabernet to mature slowly. In Maipo there is a perfect combination of climate and soil, because these restrictive soils help the vine produce good concentration, soft and delicate tannins. In this sense, the factors of the Maipo Valley are exceptional for producing a great Cabernet Sauvignon, elegant, smooth, of good quality and with good concentration. A very good example at price-quality level is Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada Cabernet Sauvignon, I think there is no other like it. To pair it… just be free, people have to enjoy it with whatever they want. There are no rules. As advice: the wine shouldn’t overtake the food and vice versa”.
Marcio Ramírez: “The Carmenère from Peumo”
For me, the best variety, which is practically only found in Chile, is Carmenère. And we Chileans have drunk Carmenère all our lives. We confused it with Merlot but what we drank was Carmenère: that wine that we like so much, with a lot of colour, intense, very smooth, that is easy to drink and combines very well with Chilean foods: Charquicán, Empanadas, Pastel de choclo and Humitas. There is no better wine that pairs so well with all these dishes. And I think that Peumo is the place that meets all the conditions for this variety: deep soil, with a lot of clay, water at the bottom. Spring is very early, we are already budding, and autumn arrives very late in May. So, we managed to have some Carmenère with a lot of identity, very smooth, very juicy. That is why I think it is the variety that identifies me and if you ask me a wine, I think Gran Reserva Carmenère has a very attractive value and the it is an entry wine for people to know the characteristics of Carmenère from Peumo”.
Héctor Urzúa: “The Cabernet Sauvignon from Cauquenes”
“I believe that the most important variety in Chile and the one that grows best is Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a difficult variety that requires a suitable climate, a good thermal oscillation between day and night for ripeness, and the soils also have a lot to do with its final expression. In Concha y Toro we not only have the expression of the Maipo, but also Marchigüe and Cauquenes. These are the three focuses of our Cabernet Sauvignon, each one of them with high quality and its own personality. That, for me, reinforces the fact that it is the variety that grows best. It is a difficult variety but we are capable of producing wines in different valleys and with very good quality. As a good winemaker from Maule, I believe that the cabernet that best exemplifies this with an extraordinary price-quality level and that people can buy is Casillero del Diablo Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon (red label). Which comes 100% from Cauquenes and whose freshness, fruit expression and juiciness is not common for a Cabernet Sauvignon. I think it is a wine worth highlighting and rescuing as an important terroir for Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile.”