Being the birthplace of internationally renowned Carmenere wines, the Peumo vineyard –in Cachapoal Valley- has defended its position as one of the most ideal places for the production of this variety, both in Chile and worldwide. Discover why.
For Domingo Marchi, agricultural manager in the Rapel zone, and who has been working in this estate since 1981, the fact that Peumo in particular, and Cachapoal Valley in general, is a privileged place for Carmenere is no accident. Its moderate temperatures, warm days and cooler nights, result in an optimum microclimate for this variety.
“Peumo is part of a longitudinal valley, that is, one where the Coastal Range is parallel to the Andes. Therefore, this vineyard is protected from the influence of the Andes and, because it is also a narrow valley, it receives the influence of the winds that originate in the Cachapoal River. All this creates a microclimate in Peumo that prevents frosts from occurring in spring and hardly occurring in winter, setting an ideal place for Carmenere, as it is a very delicate variety when it comes to low temperatures”, says Domingo.
The climate factor at the Peumo vineyard is also very important because it is what allows Carmenere to properly develop during ripening time. In this variety, suitable alcoholic content in the fruit and optimum tannin maturity are attained at different times, so the weather should be one that allows the grapes to remain long enough in the vine to achieve adequate maturity.
“The alcohol content of the fruit is attained around mid-April, but tannins may reach maturity even a month later”, says Domingo, and adds: “In Peumo, at the time of setting -November- temperatures are very similar to those during harvest -May-, so the plant still has active green leaves, and the tannins can continue the maturation process until later, turning to be very soft. The climate of this estate allows the bunches to remain on the vines for seven months, this being the only traditional variety where the grape is exposed for so long in the vine”.
Another benefit of this vineyard is its privileged access to water, with rainfall ranging from 550 to 600 ml of water per year. So if any given year -like this one, where we had 420 ml of water- does not reach the normal precipitation levels, Domingo says here that is “not a problem”.
Peumo is, along with Pirque, one of Concha y Toro’s oldest vineyards. Besides Carmenere, the company produces Merlot, Malbec, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in this estate. Its first Carmenere vines are nearly 32 years old and have yielded distinctive wines of origin worthy of major awards worldwide. Proof of this is Carmín de Peumo being awarded three times the highest score given to a Chilean wine by Wine Advocate, the publication of specialized critic Robert Parker, in addition to this iconic Carmenere being selected among the “100 Best Wines the Year” by Wine & Spirits.