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I've been itching to recommend this wine ever since I first tasted it more than a year ago. It has taken its time to get into commercial circulation even in the UK but can now be found in several British stores, as well as in the Netherlands, France and Hungary. As for you Americans, you don't know what you are missing.
I tasted it again recently and confirmed that this is just the sort of refined, cool-climate Chardonnay that is all the rage with trend-conscious American wine drinkers but at half the price of comparable quality from California's Central Coast. I see that it won both a gold medal and a trophy at this year's Wines of Chile Awards and am not at all surprised. It has the most delightful satin-smooth texture yet is not remotely sweet, and has the relatively modest alcohol level of 13.5%. Although the residual sugar is 3.4 g/l, the acidity is more than 7 g/l and quite high enough to make the finish taste bone dry - after some hugely appealing notes of lime and some other green fruit flavours. It's a sort of Chilean Chablis that has quite admirable precision. The first time I tasted it I described it as 'complete'. The second time I noted 'it covers all the bases'. This is presumably the same characteristic of offering a perfect tasting experience already, although both times I suggested it could be drunk with pleasure until at least 2017. I also gave it a score of 17/20 each time but I wonder now whether that score is not a bit niggardly.
It's grown, from a mix of Dijon clones - 548, 95 and 76 - in Errázuriz's new, schist-based Manzanar vineyard (pictured), planted in 2005, that is just 12 km inland and is therefore very much cooler than their base well inland, where most of their red grapes are grown and the wines are made. The long, cool fermentation was under the influence of ambient yeast, and some obviously top-quality French oak was involved. As well as the Chardonnay, they have planted some Pinot Noir here, also Dijon clones, mainly 777 and 115. I found the 2011 Pinot a little spindly and beetrooty but presumably the fruit will become more substantial and interesting as the vines mature. Good old Chardonnay seems relatively immune to vine age in my experience.
You can read an excellent technical specification of this wine which gives full details of which clones were planted, the heat summation range, exactly how it was made and a full analysis here.
The UK importers claim that the wine can also be found at The London Wine Co, Hailsham Cellars (including winedirect.co.uk), Partridges of Sloane St, Wimbledon Wine, Ellies Cellar, Edencroft Fine Wine, Whalley Wine Shop, Kingsgate Wines, D Byrne & Co, Bacchanalia and Eagle Wines.
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