Colchagua lies closer to the low and rolling Coastal Range than to the higher Andes and benefits from the cooling breezes that blow in directly from the sea, effectively extending the growing season for a long, slow ripening period. Marchigüe and Apalta, two select Colchagua Valley terroirs, were chosen to make this exceptional wine. Marchigüe’s shallow granitic-clay soils help the grapes develop tremendous fruit expression and structure. The second vineyard is in the small, much-acclaimed Apalta Valley, whose special conditions such as deep granitic soils and a horseshoe shape that protects its vineyards from the cold coastal winds combine to produce high quality wines. The warm summer days in the 70-year-old vineyards are ideal for growing perfectly ripe Carménère with elegant tannins.
Wine maker notes
Picked in late April, the grapes are destemmed, partially crushed, and cold macerated for 5 days prior to fermentation. The must is inoculated with selected yeasts, and fermentation takes place at 77º–82ºF. Pumpovers are frequent during the first two-thirds of the process and then reduced to half in order to extract all of the potential from the skins. The new wine remains on its skins for another 20 days to develop the well-rounded sweetness that characterizes this wine. The wine is further developed with 10 months of French oak aging.
Delicious with steak, barbecue, venison, game birds, and ripe blue cheeses.
Heritage and enterprise are hallmarks of Santa Rita, one of Chile’s premier wine estates. Founded in 1880 in Chile’s Maipo Valley, this historic property was among the first to pioneer plantings of European grape varieties in Chile. In 1980, it was acquired by its present owner, Gruppo Claro, under whom Santa Rita has reaped the rewards of continuous investment, resulting in a period of impressive growth, during which the winery has consolidated its position in the vanguard of Chile’s most successful and innovative estates.
Initiatives include the highly successful launch of Santa Rita’s 120 Series and Reserve wines and a range of ultra-premium wines, notably the highly acclaimed Casa Real, Triple C, the Floresta range and most recently, Pehuen. Wide-ranging enhancements include the purchase of choice new vineyards, plantings with top quality clones, improved trellising and irrigation, balanced viticulture, restricted yields, later harvesting, individual block farming, small-lot vinification, and an increased emphasis on sustainable agriculture.
The Santa Rita property accounts for outstanding vineyards in Chile’s most important appellations -- the Maipo Valley; Apalta; Casablanca; Rapel; Leyda and Curico -- enabling access to diverse climates and terrain. Visitors to Santa Rita can look forward to accommodation at the estate’s luxury hotel, the Casa Real, with its breathtaking 100-acre gardens, its magnificent museum housing a breathtaking collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, or enjoy dinner at the property’s landmark restaurant, the Dona Paula.
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