Apalta is located at 170 Kilometers South West from Santiago in the Colchagua Valley. The Vineyard is situated on a North to South exposure, which is quite rare in Chile. The Tinguiririca river rests on one side and the hills from the Coastal Cordillera surround the vineyard like a horseshoe on the other. They are both integral in forming this unique terroir. This geography is responsible for the conditions that ensure balance for our vines and a slow ripening for the grapes. At sunrise and sunset, the Cordillera block the sun’s rays, limiting the vines exposure to intense sunshine and the river has a cooling influence on the climate.
Climatic Conditions of Apalta Valley:
Apalta has a special meso-climate that is different from the rest of Colchagua Valley. Its climate could be described as semi-dry Mediterranean; with a winter only rainy season and a long dry summer season. Rains are highly concentrated during the winter reaching over 550 mm in on average. During the growing season (octapril), we have beautiful days and warm temperatures with no rain due to the height of the Coastal Mountains which partially block the cold influence of the Pacific Ocean. There are cool breezes in the afternoons and the night-time temperatures are cold. We benefit from a wide temperature fluctuation between night and day; which is a key quality factor for color and tannins in reds. Slow maturation allows the grapes to reach their ideal maturity with high concentration and character, preserving the fruit and high levels of natural acidity, ensuring a long ageing potential.
There is much diversity in the soil, and our Clos Apalta comes from colluvial granitic soils, lightly textured with layers of clay.
Vintage Conditions in 2012:
This 2012 vintage started with a hot and dry spring, followed by a sunny summer with cold nights that gave us big thermal amplitude, a key factor for quality. No rain was recorded during this harvest season, and high temperatures during the summer and fall resulted in earlier than normal ripening and harvest. Concerning the temperatures in spring, september was exceptionally hot. It was a small summer in the middle of the spring. October and november were just a little bit warmer and permitted a nice flowering of our grapevines. Summer started warmer than usual in december. However cool nights refreshed the ambient, raised air humidity, producing more color in the berries and preserve their natural acidity. The ripeness came earlier than usual. We harvested the red varieties 3 weeks earlier to achieve the right level of ripeness.
Our winemaking philosophy is to reflect the terroir from Apalta by crafting a wine based in Carmenère. A truly hand crafted wine, we nurture our vines and attend to every detail to preserve the potential of the grapes. We hand harvest the fruit in small cases of 14 kilos. The grapes are 100% hand de-stemmed in our Clos Apalta Winery so we maintain complete control of the quality. We fill our French oak vats by gravity. Then nature does its work, allowing native yeasts that slowly ferment the must into wine with temperature control less than 28° C. Macerations lasted for about 4-5 weeks and during all that period we did manual punch downs to extract enough compounds from skins to get the desired structure and concentration. We rack the young new wine straight into 100% new French oak barrels by gravity. Malolactic happens in barrels, where the wine stays for 24 months, ageing patiently. The wine is bottled by gravity without any treatment or filtration.
Color: Dark and deep inky purple red color.
Nose: Complex nose opening towards ripe and expressive red and black fruit, such as plums, red cherries, dry figs and blueberries. Spices such as clover and black pepper.
Mouth: With a concentrated structure, this wine has a round attack followed by velvety and polished tannins filling the mid palate and a ripe and rich long lasting finish.
Service and food pairing:
Open and leave to breathe for a couple of hours or carefully decant for minimum 1 hour and enjoy at 17ºC (64°F). Ideal companion for game, lamb, and entrecote fillet. Also good with rich bitter cocoa chocolate desserts.
Ageing: 100% of the blend in 225 lts new French oak barrels for 24 months.
Coopers: Saury, Taransaud, Seguin Moreau, Demptos, Sylvain and Radoux.
A wonderfully vivid red with complex aromas of rose petal, black currant, blackberry, black pepper and sandalwood. Full-bodied, yet ultra-refined. Silky textured tannins. Gorgeous finish. So much intense fruit with spice, currant and chocolate. A blend of carmenere, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. All grapes are biodynamically grown. Better in 2019. - James Suckling 96 Points
Lusty notes of coconut, charcoal, vanilla and herbs grace core blackberry and cassis aromas. This is massive and widespread on the palate, but the key to its success is impeccable balance. Toasty, minty flavors of blackberry and cassis are chocolaty and lightly herbal, while the finish blends lushness, power, heft and smoky, herbal flavors that go on and on. Drink this Carmenere-led blend through 2024. #97 Top 100 Cellat Selections 2016. - Wine Enthusiast Magazine 94 Points
A dense, ripe and powerful style, with concentrated flavors of dark plum, blackberry and chocolate. Very plush and creamy midpalate, with a rich finish loaded with espresso notes, along with medium-grained tannins. Carmenere, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2020. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 6,200 cases made. -KM - Wine Spectator Magazine 93 Points
The 2012 Clos Apalta started off a little closed, but with air, the spicy aromas seemed to dominate (cloves, black pepper); there are also lots of smoky notes over a core of ripe black fruit with a volatile hint. It feels young and greatly marked by its two years in new French oak barrels. The palate is still young and tannic, and the finish is a little dry. There’s not a lot of fruit in there and it somehow feels like it lacks a bit in the mid palate. For fans of the style, but even though, you should wait to pull the cork. 61,000 bottles produced. - Robert Parker 91 Points