Chadwick: Sweetness takes away from drinkability

Eduardo Chadwick of Errazuriz is keen to take his top drop, Viñedo Chadwick, in a fresh direction with a focus on drinkability rather than ripeness.

Speaking during a vertical tasting of Viñedo Chadwick at Vinexpo in Bordeaux this week, Chadwick said: “During the ‘90s winemakers were pushing the bigger, hedonistic, powerful styles of red championed by the likes of Michel Rolland.

“We were always in the other camp but we’re taking finesse even further as we want to crate something really drinkable, approachable and defined, and sweetness takes away from that.

Eduardo Chadwick is seeking a fresh direction for Viñedo Chadwick

“But we want to harvest when there is enough ripeness in the tannins as we don’t want green tannins. We’re looking for the most extreme freshness we can achieve in our terroir but there is a fine line between freshness and greenness.”

During the tasting, Viñedo Chadwick’s winemaker, Francisco Baettig, presented the 2015 vintage, which he feels embodies the estate’s new stylistic direction.

While 2015 was a hot year, certain steps were taken both in the vineyard and the winery to lock in its freshness and dial back the alcohol levels, making it seem like a wine from a cooler year.

The alcohol of Viñedo Chadwick has gone down from around 14.5% to 13.5% and the picking times have been brought forward by a month.

“The 2015 Viñedo Chadwick is a new style of warmer vintage that shows we can still produce elegant wines in warmer years,”Baettig said.

“We’re moving towards showing more herbal and balsamic notes. Plus our vines are older and we’re more experienced, so it’s getting easier to show the balance in the wines. We’re also changing our oak programme so the wines don’t go into 100% new French oak.

“We still want concentration and density but are also looking for silkiness, acidity, elegance, tension and purity. The tannins are still there but they’re fine grain.

“The Maipo Valley is all about finesse, elegance and purity and I believe that our 2015 vintage is the epitome of that,” he added.

Viñedo Chadwick was founded in 1992 on the site of a polo field in the Maipo Valley used by Eduardo Chadwick’s father Alfonso, an accomplished polo player.

Some 35 hectares were planted, and the first vintage of the wine was the 1999, released in 2002.

The 2014 vintage was given 100 points by James Suckling, who described it as “Chile’s first perfect wine”.

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