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Montes finds ‘perfect spot’ for Cabernet in Chile

Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes believes he has found the “perfect spot” for planting Cabernet Sauvignon in the South American nation.

Aurelio Montes
Aurelio Montes

During a discussion with the drinks business at Vinexpo Hong Kong last month, Aurelio said, “I’m always dreaming of finding the perfect spot and I think I’ve found the best yet, I think it’s the perfect land for Cabernet Sauvignon.”

The site is within the Montes Marchigüe estate in the Colchagua Valley, which produces Cabernet Sauvignon for the top wine from Montes, called Taita – a line launched in June 2013 at Vinexpo Bordeaux with a retail price of around £150.

Montes told db that the soils at the site were comparable to those found in Graves, home of Bordeaux first growth Château Haut-Brion.

“I compare the soil with Graves in Bordeaux: there is an area where the proportion of clay, stones and a bit of limestone is more perfect, in an even better balance than the spot where we are producing Taita, so the conclusion I have taken is that I have to move the Taita block here some day,” he said.

Aurelio has discovered this ideal site for Cabernet Sauvignon having dug a number of soil pits with the help of Chilean consultant terroir specialist Pedro Parra.

He said that he will plant 10 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon at the site, which is alongside his existing vineyards in Marchigüe, noting that the entire estate contains a high proportion of round stones similar to those found in Graves, but unlike Bordeaux, these weren’t formed by river water, but deposited by glaciers that once covered the area.

Allowing him to plant a further 10ha at the estate is an enhanced water supply due to a newly-lined 14ha reservoir. Aurelio said that a US$500,000 investment in lining the lake with plastic has saved him enough water to plant a further 100ha in the area.

However, he also said that he will be using dynamite to blow up a hard pan in the soils, which is located at a depth of 2 metres. This will help the vine’s roots dig deeper into the subsoil where there are pockets of water, allowing the plants to thrive in the future without any irrigation whatsoever.

Montes marchigue
The Montes Estate in Marchigüe

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