VIK aiming to make ‘100% Chilean’ wine aged in estate-grown oakBy Lucy Shaw
Chilean producer VIK is on a quest to make a “100% Chilean” wine aged in oak barrels crafted from trees grown on its expansive estate in the Millahue Valley.
The purity of fruit from the 2018 vintage inspired VIK’s chief winemaker, Cristián Vallejo, to seek new ways of fully expressing the terroir of the estate.
Dubbed ‘barroir’ the project has kicked off with ageing the 2018 vintage in barrels toasted with estate-grown own, though ultimately Vallejo would like to take the concept further and rest his wines in entirely estate-grown wood.
VIK has always taken a hands off approach to winemaking in a bid to let the terroir talk, via native yeasts and no fining, filtration or additives.
Staves are toasted with oak grown in the Millahue Valley in order to make the wines offering a more authentic expression of the Chilean landscape.
Keen to protect the environment, VIK only works with oak from fallen trees at its 57ha oak grove filled with a French species that’s over a century old.
“The 2018 the juice was so beautiful. It was an amazing year where our vineyards really started to show their unique personality.
“We want to make a wine that’s 100% from here as it helps to tell the story of our terroir. We shave old French oak barrels and re-toast them with our own Chilean oak,” Vallejo told db.
“The next step is to make barrels entirely from our own oak – we’re planting half a hectare of oak trees per year to be able to keep the project going.
“I spent time in an oak forest in France learning how to make barrels. We’re the only Chilean winery with our own tonnelerie,” he added.
Valllejo also ages his wines in amphora made from clay sourced from VIK’s 4,300ha estate. So far the estate has crafted 32 amphora with a 600l capacity.