Santa Rita marks Chilean independence with La Place release
Santa Rita has released the 2020 vintage of its Casa Real icon wine on La Place de Bordeaux to mark the Chilean Anniversary of Independence today.
Speaking to the drinks business in July, Sebastian Labbé, the winemaker behind Casa Real, said it was important to release the wine on a day which has relevance to the rest of Chile.
A number of New World wines are released on the platform in September, but Santa Rita chose 18 September, the day which marks the Chilean Anniversary of Independence from the Spanish Crown.
“It was important to have a date that was important for Chile as a country in order to start spreading the word to the rest of the world,” Labbé explained.
The 2020 vintage is the third consecutive release of Casa Real launched through the fine wine distribution platform.
Since its debut in La Place de Bordeaux in 2021, the entire La Place allocation of the 2018 vintage has sold out, with Casa Real expanding its presence to 25 markets in Europe and Asia including new countries such as Australia, Singapore, Luxembourg, and the Philippines, facilitated by Santa Rita’s collaboration with International First Growths (IFG), a specialised broker in both Australian and Chilean wines.
Labbé sees La Place as a tool helping the wines to be more widely recognised.
“More and more players are having wines in La Place. In our case it was just the idea of getting Casa Real into this very high end system,” he says, saying it has “worked quite well”.
“There’s more and more attention from consumers around the world looking at what’s going on on La Place with New World wines, because it used to just be one or two wines outside of Bordeaux.”
However, a wine listed on the platform does not guarantee success. “It’s one thing to get into the system, but the most important parameter is to be able to maintain sustainable business through the platform,” he explains.
Labbé is confident that the quality of the wine will drive its success, and says that the 2020 vintage “really reflects the soul of the Cabernets from here”.
The wine, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is produced from grapes grown in the Alto Jahuel area of the Maipo Valley. Grapes are sourced from 25-30 different parcels across 20 hectares, and are harvested and fermented separately.
The first vintage of Casa Real was produced in 1989, and “we’ve been making the wine pretty much exactly the same way for over these 30 plus years”, Labbé said.
“Casa Real has had four different winemakers over the years, but each person making the technical decisions has always been able to put himself or herself behind the style of the house. I think that’s the biggest benefit of this wine. The Casa Real style is stronger than whoever is making the technical decisions.”
Casa Real has a long ageing potential, but its winemaker is confident it is ready to drink now. He said: “By the time we release it into the market we want to make sure this wine is ready to drink, but we also want to guarantee to our customers that it’s also a wine they can cellar for 15 plus years and will be developing constantly.”