Chile's wine regions
arrived at the Odfjell winery in Maipo to be greeted by some rather
unusual looking horses. They are Fjord ponies, and they’d been
brought over to Chile by air. They’re actually quite beautiful.
as the name suggests, has a Norwegian connection. Founded by Dan
Odfjell, who made his money from shipping, the winery is designed by
his son, Lawrence Odfjell, and architect. Lawrence also designed the
wineries at Matetic and Callina. 60% of the winery is below ground,
making it highly energy efficient. A gravity flow design minimizes
the need to pump wine.
Odfjell lives in the Netherlands, where he is involved in shipping
and freight terminals. The ships we are talking about are
tanker-sized freight ships with double hulls, which cost $70–100
million each. Rotterdam is the biggest freight terminal in the
world. He bought this property in the 1980s initially as an orchard,
but he didn’t really like that business, so he switched to wine.
The vineyards here were first planted in 1992 onwards, and the
winery was built in 1997 (first vintage 1998).
wine is the focus here, with grapes coming from three vineyards:
this one in Maipo, one in Cauquenes (Maule) and the third in Molina
(Curico). Production is 60–65 K cases. Paul Hobbs has been
consultant winemaker here since 1998, but winemaking is in the hands
of Arnaud Hereu (above).
is a speciality here, and the first varietal Carignan was made in
2001. It’s harvested late, and potential alcohol levels can be as
high as 17 degrees, which makes fermentation tricky. ‘For the
first three years we had stuck fermentations and lots of wines with
residual sugar,’ recalls Arnaud. ‘Every year we have to fight to
finish fermentation, but we are getting better at it.’
Chile sugar levels go up quickly, so to get tannin maturation you
get high sugar levels. This results in high alcohol, so you extract
a lot of stuff: you have to be sure that everything going into the
tank is ripe or you get greenness.’ He adds that at the end of
fermentation there is 15% alcohol and a temperature of 32 °C.
‘It’s very extractive.’
work the first third of fermentation a lot when there’s low
temperature and low alcohol.’ A cold soak at 12 ° for four or
five days is typically employed.
cites Carmenčre as the most difficult variety to work with because
of its tendency to develop brettanomyces.
use is 60% French, 40% American. 300 new barrels are purchased each
year. Arnaud doen’t like central European oak. ‘Each year we do
barrel trials with coopers,’ he says. ‘We have discovered some
really good coopers who aren’t well known. Many Chilean producers
have been buying by reputation.’ Arnaud is not a big fan of
topping up so there is often air space in the barrels. He tops up
every 15 days, whereas 4 is more common. The barrels often get a
flor, but this isn’t a problem. ‘I don’t maintain a constant
temperature and humidity,’ he says. ‘I believe wine has to
follow the seasons; wine moves.’
has used alcohol reduction. ‘I did some experiments dealcoholizing
the wine and it is better at 13.5% than 14%,’ he reveals. For
this, for a 40 K litre blend, 5 K litres were dealcoholized to 2%
and then blended back. He’s extending this experiment to more
Paul Hobbs, Odfjell went looking for old vine fruit and found
Carignan, Cinsault and Cabernet Franc. They were surprised by the
quality, and rather than using it in blends, they ended up making
reveals that they had big problems with Brettanomyces until 2002.
They had brought barrels from another producer and these introduced
brett into the cellar. This wasn’t detected until the wine was in
bottle. Now the problem is solved, although Carmenčre remains a bit
of a problem.
Armador Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
sweet blackcurrant fruit nose with some heat and a spicy edge. The
palate is attractively fruity and spicy with firm savoury tannins.
Complex and savoury. 90/100
Armador Carmenčre 2005
ripe, rich, dark spicy nose. Really intense and bold. The palate is
focused and quite balanced with lush fruit and a lovely spicy
savoury character. 91/100
Orzada Malbec 2005
high toned, a hot nose with sweet, pure liqueur-like fruit. The
palate is darkly fruited and quite elegant with some earthy notes.
Attractive and spicy, this is quite a serious effort. 91/100
Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
distinctive liqueur-like nose of pure blackcurrant fruit. Ripe with
high alcohol. The palate is smooth with nice purity and elegance.
Some earthy spiciness in the background. 90/100
blend of Carmenčre and Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a complicated
year with rain ahead of harvest. Brooding smooth dark fruits nose
with a liqueur-like character. The palate is dense and smooth with
lovely integrated oak and some nice spiciness. A serious effort.
Orzada Carignan 2001
year old vines. Smooth, lush perfumed nose with some Brettanomyces
evident: leathery, earthy notes. Complex and intense. The palate has
some lovely earthiness and attractive spicy red fruits. Lovely wine.
Orzada Carignan 2002
and dark but with a bit of mustiness (there was a tribromoanisole
problem this year) on the palate. Dense, firm and spicy, with a
subdued quality to the fruit. Tight and savoury.
Orzada Carignan 2003
sweet dark chocolatey nose is quite brooding and smooth. The palate
has lovely freshness and earthiness with a delicious spiciness.
Firm, complex, spicy and tannic. A serious savoury effort. 92/100
Orzada Carignan 2004
smooth, varietally true, lush focused dark fruits on the nose. The
palate is ripe but restrained with concentrated dark fruits and firm
tannins. Really lively and bold with good acidity. A massive wine.
Orzada Carignan 2005
over-ripe liqueur-like nose with smooth dark fruits. The palate is
fresh and dark with great purity and focus without being heavy.
Fresh with some spicy tannins. Striking and interesting. 92/100
Orzada Carignan 2006
spicy dark fruits nose, with lots of ripeness and a bit of roasted
oak. The palate is focused and pure with quite a bit of oak evident
supporting the pure dark fruit. Tannic and bold. 91/100
alcohol. Sophisticated, smooth and lush with some alcohol and sweet
dark fruits. The palate is very rich and bold but also quite tannic
and savoury with good acidity. The alcohol comes across a bit too
much. Pushing the limits of balance. 91/100
Cabernet Franc 2004
smooth, fresh and quite elegant with pure red and black fruits. The
palate is midweight and nicely poised with some tannin. 90/100
CHILE'S WINE REGIONS
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