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Chilean Wine

Details from our Trip to Chile

As the grapes begin to harvest we reflect back on the amazing trip that we had in Chile. Check out our Chilean itinerary below. Anyone up for a trip to Chile? Because we can’t wait to go back and visit!

Day 1: Colchagua

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As we drove through the Colchagua Valley I couldn’t help but feel like I was back in Napa driving down the Silverado Trail or HWY 29. Lush vineyards surrounded us on either side of the highway. Each winery we passed was just as majestic as or more than the next. A blissful start to our trip.

We stopped at few wineries that day before we visited our vineyards for research purposes ;). The first winery we stopped at was Lapostelle’s Clos Apalta winery. This winery calls itself “French in essence, Chilean by birth”. A striking winery that is 100% gravity fed. They have over six levels in the winery. Each with a specific fermentation or aging purpose. The tasting room is on the second to last floor and is so cold they offer blankets for patrons when tasting wine in their cave like room. Directly below the tasting room is the proprietor’s personal cellar, with over 1000 bottles of wine. Quite the collection.  This was one of the more interesting tasting experiences we’ve had.

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For the rest of the day we visited our Colchagua Vineyards and they were incredible! The Colchagua Valley is known for growing bold red wines, such as Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. It has a mediterranean climate and is located along the southern end of the Rapel Valley. This topography creates a climate that receives around 23.3 inches of rainfall per year and little to no rainfall during their summer months. This helps keep the grapes safe close to harvest and ensures that the grapes are fighting for water therefore creating a more intense fruit.  The soil is made up of sand, decomposed granite, and clay. Another great indicator of quality viticulture. These soil components soak up acidity and help create a more balanced wine grape to work with.

Days 2-3: Curico Valley

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The hospitality in Chile was something we have never experienced before. The people were so kind and accommodating. First, we rode on horseback around the Chardonnay vineyard. Not being very good at horseback riding this was a little nerve wrecking, but we were able to make it around the vineyard (barely). Besides the stress of being on a horse the views were gorgeous and it was quite the way to take in the vineyard views.

Curico is place where many wineries and growers work with large producers. They have high-end equipment with state of the art technology; but at the same time there are family wineries and growers who create incredible boutique wines using a combination of old world tradition and a few new world winemaking practices. You can see the combination of new and old just by driving down the street. You not only pass fancy cars, but every once in a while you’ll pass a horse and buggy. Yes that is correct. Many people ride horseback throughout the area rather than drive cars.  Curico has been a wine grape growing region since the 1800s and you can see the incredible history of the wine region as you drive down the street.

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The wines from our grower’s personal winery were delicious! Sebastian and Manuela make a great father/daughter team when it comes to winemaking. Their wine label is called “Correa Albano” and the Sauvignon Blanc was so fruit forward and bright. I couldn’t get enough of it. Especially on such a hot summer day, it was the perfectly refreshing and complex Sauvignon Blanc. The Carmenere was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. It had a “dusty” almost “napa-like” nose to it. It was full of delicious dark fruits with soft and rich tannins. This wine has inspired me to try to make Carmenere again. I am hoping the new CSM yeast will get me close to this flavor profile. One of things Manuela touched on was the importance of temperature during fermentation for both white and red wines. She said she is meticulous about monitoring temperature during her primary fermentations and it is one of the keys to her winemaking success.

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After tasting some our grower’s wines we sat down for a true Chilean lunch and the food was delicious! Our growers were incredibly kind and prepared a few authentic Chilean dishes for us to enjoy (keep an eye out for some recipes to hit the blog soon). It was a feast of delicious Chilean produce, spices, and flavors, which was followed by a barrel tasting where Sebastian and Manuela let us try some of their aged red wines. They used multiple yeasts and are starting to think about blending the different oaks.

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As our 5 hour lunch and tasting came to an end we went to see more of the vineyards, and let me tell you, this car ride was epic. It was to a point where we didn’t think our rental car would make it over the rocks and through the brush. I felt like I was on a jungle safari in a car that was about to crumble underneath us with each bump we hit. We went from a beautiful roadside vineyard of Malbec and Merlot, up a large hill rocky hill to Cabernet Sauvignon, through a jungle forest that opened up to a gorgeous Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. It felt like we discovered a vineyard oasis. It was Sebastian’s father’s favorite vineyard. You could tell it held a special place in his heart.

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Day 4: Viña Alpatagua

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The next winery we visited was Viña Alpatagua. The winemaker gave us an insider’s tour of the tank area, barrel room, and bottling line. It is a winery that is full of creativity and passion. The level of precision that is taken with each wine was very apparent, as was how creative the winemaker was. The winemaker, Pablo Barros, infused their sparkling wine with pomegranate juice from their estate pomegranate trees. It was a delicious addition to an already delicious sparkling wine.

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Most of their wines were appellation focused. We tried wines specifically from Curico and Colchagua. Most of the vines that they worked were very old, some up to 70 years old! My favorite wines were the Pomegranate infused sparkling, the Carmenere, their Cabernet Sauvignon, and Riesling.  This winery creates wines of great distinction. A must see if you are in Chile.

Day 5:  Santiago

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On the last day of our trip we enjoyed some delicious Pisco with some of our hosts, Alfredo and Suzanne. Alfredo and Suzanne are kind enough to take video, photos, and give us up to date harvest information. We are very lucky that they are so willing to give us information so quickly and efficiently. Alfredo and his family are a big part of why we are able to bring in such high end grapes from Chile.

Since it was our first time trying Pisco, they took us to a Pisco bar in downtown Santiago. This bar had some delicious ways to try it. They had over 30 different cocktails centered on the authentic, grape-based liquor. What a way to leave Chile! The next morning we reluctantly headed back to the US. An incredible trip with so many great memories, new knowledge, and media to share with our winemakers back home.

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As the plane took off and I settled in for the long flight home I couldn’t help but reflect back on the incredible people we met. They are kind and caring families who truly love what they do. You can see the passion they have for the wine industry, their families, and the people they work with. They said, “Wine is made in the details… If people work in a good way it takes a direct effect on the wines.” I couldn’t agree more. It was an incredible trip and we feel so very fortunate that we are able to work with such amazing growers and their families.

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Verasion in Chile, or as the Chileans call it, “Enverno”

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The Chilean harvest is starting soon. Verasion, or as the Chileans call it, “Enverno,” began in some wine grape varieties around January 25th and most of the grapes are currently around 15 Brix. We should be seeing white grapes start to arrive around the last week in April, and red grapes start to arrive around the second or third week in May. We will be sourcing grapes from Curcio and Colchagua valleys this year.
The Curico Valley, known as the “Heart of the Chilean wine industry,” and will produce some intense grapes this year. One of the steps that were put into place when cultivating this year’s crop was the pruning the vines later in order to delay the plants from maturing. Our growers started pruning Chardonnay around October 1st and Cabernet Sauvignon around September 20th. This was done to help reduce the risks associated with seasonal frosts and this tactic definitely paid off as the grapes look excellent.  The Colchagua Valley is known for hearty red wines, such as Carménère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. It is located 100 miles south of Santiago, and is an ideal growing region for bold grapes. A little cooler than Curico Valley, but it still remains a Mediterranean climate. A great place for growing intense wine grapes that make complex and palate pleasing wines.
The crop this year looks to be of normal tonnage, but with a tighter marketplace developing around Chilean wines, grapes are tighter than previous years. Additionally, the growing season was a bit cooler than normal and harvest is expected to be about 10 days behind last year. This year’s growing season should produce some intense and complex wines.

Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec Numbers

Hello Winemakers!

We hope everything is fermenting along well! Below are some numbers were able to take on the grapes yesterday. Cheers and Happy Fermenting! :)

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pH= 3.55, TA= 4.27, Brix 21.5

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pH= 3.85, TA= 3.31, Brix =23.5

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pH= 3.95, TA = 4.25, Brix = 23.2

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc: Primary Fermentation

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc:

Primary Fermenation

“Wine fermenting for 7 days slow and steady. Down to 4 brix. Nice nose and color as we wind down. Wine did get near 65F. I wet a bed sheet twice a day with cold water and wrapped around stainless tank. This helped keep the temp at 60F – nice and cool for a white wine.  Too hot and you will blow off the nose.”

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Bootcamp with winemaker Frank Renadli! Learn how to make great wine at home in just 5 weeks!

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Video from Chile!

As the Chilean grapes start arriving….Here is a video from our grower – Correo Albano Vineyards – talking about the history of his vineyard, the region of Curico, and the 2017 Harvest. Cheers to 5 generations of growing the best wine grapes of Chile!

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc: After the Press

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc:

After the Press

“Adjusted Brix to 21.5 (11.8% alcohol). Adjusted with Tartaric Acid to get pH = 3.24 and TA = .60. Will have to acidify after fermentation. Could have adjusted further, but ta would still be low (desired .7 – .9). Used Vin13 yeast – Very slow start. Took over 24 hours to get started. Still at 58 degree with a slow cool fermentation. No big nose yet. Looking forward to reporting more on the results once fermentation has completed.”

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Bootcamp with winemaker Frank Renadli! Learn how to make great wine at home in just 5 weeks!

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Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

Notes from our Winemaker Frank Renaldi about the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

“Good day, Grapes looked really good. No mold, clean, juicy. Let set with enzyme for 5 hours. Good press. Tomorrow will measure, adjust and add goodies and pitch yeast.” – We are sold out of the white grapes but still have some reds grapes and white & red juices available Give us a call at the office to secure your order!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Bootcamp with winemaker Frank Renadli! Learn how to make great wine at home in just 5 weeks!

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The Winemaker’s Think Tank: Vol 11 – Spring Wine Yeast Suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon

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What’s the Winemaker’s Think Tank?

Every Thursday we will post about a few frequently asked questions that our winemaker has answered. If you have a winemaking question you would like to have answered, please email us at support@juicegrape.com and we will try to get into next week’s post. Cheers! :)

Varietal Country of Origin Yeast Strain Yeast Attributes:

Cabernet Sauvignon – Chile/South Africa

  • Chile- CSM  Diminishes vegetal character: 25Brix/14%ABV /High
  • South Africa- CSM/D254  CSM Diminishes vegetal character 25Brix/14%ABV/High while D254 promotes fruit character, berry, plum, mild spice- 29Brix/16%ABV/ Medium

Malbec – Chile/Argentina

  • D254  Promotes fruit character, berry, plum, mild spice- 29Brix/16%ABV/ Medium

Carmenere – Chile

  • D254 Promotes fruit character 29/16%ABV medium
  • BDX  Soft tannins, secures color, low heat 29/16% ABV medium

Pinotage – South Africa

  • BM 4×4 Very reliable, increased color, palate length 27/15%ABV high
  • D80 Increases mouthfeel and tannin integration 29/16%ABV high

Chardonnay – Chile

  • QA23  Promotes apple and pear notes 29/16%ABV low
  • Vin 13 Promotes pineapple and tropical notes in SS 30/16.5%ABV low

Sauvignon Blanc – Chile

  • 71B  Promotes grapefruit & tropical notes 25/14%ABV low
  • R2  Promotes fruit and floral notes 29/16%ABV high
  • QA23  Promotes passion fruit 29/16%ABV low

 

We hope this information helps with your winemaking. If you have any follow up questions or winemaking questions in general, please email us at support@juicegrape.com.

Chilean Harvest Update: Arrival Dates

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Chilean Harvest Update: Arrival Dates

The wines of Chile –  along with the winemakers and vineyards that produce them –  have had some profound transformations in the past 30 years. Grape growers have successfully determined which varietals thrive in their vineyards,  have experimented with unique trellising systems, and explored interesting new areas for planting. The wines now have a head start because of the wonderful grape quality.

The winemakers have been upping their game by attending classes and working in wineries abroad –  bringing back with them modern winemaking  practices from the finest winemaking regions across Europe and the USA. Even highly regarded, award-winning winemakers from other countries are moving to Chile so they can  take advantage of the country’s grape quality – and to have full creative control to craft spectacular wines. It’s crazy awesome that we are able to receive the same high quality grapes and winemaking opportunities people travel so far to achieve. We are lucky to be a part of this wine journey with the vineyards and winemakers of Chile.

The grapes will be harvested very soon. Below is more in-depth information about the vineyards and the potential arrival dates. The season will be early, so dust off the crush pad, sanitize your equipment, and get ready for some fantastic winemaking.

We will have a Bootcamp class running during the Chilean Season. If you would like to join or hear more information please email Christina at cmusto@juicegrape.com. Spaces are limited and the class will be starting soon.

 

Potential Arrival Dates for Chilean Grapes

  • April 18th
    • Sauvignon Blanc
    • Chardonnay
    • Viognier
    • Pinot Grigio
  • May 2nd
    • Malbec (small amount)
    • Merlot
    • Syrah
  • May 9th
    • Petite Verdot
    • Malbec
    • Pinot Noir
    • Carmenere
    • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • May 16th
    • Malbec
    • Carmenere
    • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Cabernet Franc

 

Chilean Juice: The juice should start arriving around May 2nd. We will have more updated when the containers are loaded.

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR CHILE

2016 HARVEST OUTLOOK FOR CHILE

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Musto Wine Grape Company, LLC. has been importing quality Chilean wine grapes for over 10 years. We have developed long lasting relationships in Chile and are constantly growing and developing the program. The vineyards are located between the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean. Therefore, the vines have excellent growing conditions for perfect ripeness and complexity thanks to the ocean breeze and Mediterranean climate.

The Curico Valley has been a wine grape growing region since the 1800’s and is located about 115 miles south of Santiago in the Central Zone of Chile.  It is known as the “Heart of the Chilean wine industry”.  Curico has the perfect fertile soil and is best known for its micro climates and the ability to grow over 30 different wine grape varieties.  Situated along the Guaiquillo River and nestled between mountains on its east and west sides, Curico’s Mediterranean climate and unique topographical features helps to create some of the finest wine grapes in South America.

The climate in the valley is characterized by morning fog and wide day-night temperature fluctuations. Climatic conditions in some parts of the valley favor wines with higher acidity, such as white varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vert and Gris.  High quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Carménère grapes are sourced from warmer areas of the valley, such as Lontué, particularly when produced from ancient vines.

Terroir: Sandy, clay, decomposed granite, volcanic-alluvial

It has been a hot and dry season in Chile, thus producing a light but intense crop. The fruit looks to be well balanced with a lot of flavor. We will have multiple shipments from Chile this year. The first container will arrive in early May and will arrive with the white varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. The containers that follow will contain the red wine grapes.

We are currently taking orders for the Chilean grapes. So far we are sold out of Petite Verdot. We are close to being sold out of Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc. Please give us a call at the office 877.812.1137 or email us sales@juicegrape.com to secure your pre-order.

Varieties Available:

–               Cabernet Sauvignon (clone 46)

–               Cabernet Franc

–               Carmenere

–               Malbec

–               Merlot

–               Petite Verdot

–               Pinot Noir

–               Syrah

–               Chardonnay (clone 5)

–               Pinot Grigio

–               Sauvignon Blanc (clone 42)

Note about Malbec: The Malbec grape has become increasingly popular over the past 5 years. Malbec from Chile produces a very fruit forward and complex wine. On the front of the palate you sense berry flavors, black cherry, blueberry, plum, and raspberry. On the palate there are notes of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco. Depending on the flavor profile you prefer we suggest ageing your Malbec in French, America, or Hungarian oak. This brings out the vanilla, coconut, and other toasty notes in the wine. You will create a wine that has fantastic fruit flavor, good acid, tannins, and a complex mouth feel. For the best color and extraction consider whole berry maceration.

We are looking forward to bringing you our high quality grapes from Chile in mid-May! The grapes come in 18lb cases and yield about 1.25 gallons per case. We strongly advise you to pre-order these grapes as last year we sold out of many varieties last season.

Cheers! And Happy Winemaking!