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Friday 19 December 2014

Errázuriz to take on grand cru Burgundy

13th August, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

Chilean wine producer Errázuriz is to add a “grand cru quality” Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to its range of “icon” wines late next year.

Errazuriz Don Max

The company’s current ‘icon’ wines comprise the Don Maximiano, as well as La Cumbre and Kai

The company’s current flagships comprise the Don Maximiano Cabernet Sauvignon blend, a 100% Syrah called La Cumbre and an almost pure Carmenère branded Kai, but will be bolstered by two new wines from the 2014 vintage.

According to Errázuriz president Eduardo Chadwick, the new wines, which will come from this year’s vintage, have been dubbed the “Burgundy project” due to their focus on the French region’s two flagship grapes, as well as the project’s quality focus – the new wines are attempting to rival Burgundy’s highest level: grand cru.

He also said that the upcoming Errázuriz “icons” will be single vineyard wines from Chile’s newly-recognised Aconcagua Costa region, because it is a “top class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir zone”.

Chadwick admitted that he had intended to produce an “icon white” from Chile when he co-founded Seña back in 1995 – a joint venture with Robert Mondavi which yielded Chile’s first ‘icon’ wine using red Bordeaux grapes from the Aconcagua Valley.

But he explained that it was not until his planting of a new cool climate area in the coastal part of the Aconcagua Valley in 2006, officially recognised in September 2012 as Aconcagua Costa, that he found an area producing grand cru quality Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir.

“Now, with Aconcagua Costa, we are there, we have the terroir to come up with world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and we will have a new twin icon from Aconcagua Costa which will be released in late 2015,” he told db last month.

Indeed, Chadwick has previously said during an interview with db in late 2012 that the Chardonnay from Aconcagua Costa had “an additional level of minerality and complexity” compared to the producer’s plantings in Casablanca.

Errazuriz range

The Errázuriz range is headed by ‘icons’

As for the new red “icon” based on Pinot Noir, Chadwick said that Errázuriz winemaker Francisco Beattig had been “really focusing on Pinot for the last five years” helped by the support of Burgundian consultant Louis-Michel Liger-Belair.

Such attention to detail is “now paying dividends,” added Chadwick, suggesting that it would give Errázuriz a competitive advantage.

Noting that the 2014 launch vintage was afflicted by frost at the start of the growing season and relatively cool conditions at the end, the crop of Pinot was “small, intense, and pure” with “good acidity”, and, stated Chadwick, “top quality Pinot with freshness and pure fruit is not easy to find”.

Chadwick added that the new releases would “definitely come under the Errázuriz umbrella”, unlike either the aforementioned Seña or Viñedo Chadwick, which is a pure Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo run as a separate project since it was released in 1999 by Eduardo Chadwick.

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