The wines of De Martino, Chile
A ground-breaking Chilean winery taking a more natural approach

Marco de Martino

For me De Martino are one of Chile's most exciting wineries. They are doing all the right things: picking early, avoiding new barriques, playing with alternative methods of elevage (such as clay amphorae, known here as tinajas), and adding as little as possible to the wines. The results are an exciting line-up of bottles.

I tasted with Marco de Martino and winemaker Marcelo Retamal. Marcelo explained that in thepast they might have picked some of their vineyards a month later than they do now. But the early picking isn't resulting in greenness in the wines, even for Carmenère.

Marcelo Retamal

The De Martino wines are multi-regional: they look for good vineyards, wherever they are, and make wine from them. It is an approach that is working very well.



De Martino Viejas Tinajas Muscat 2012 Itara, Chile
This is dry farmed Muscat from a cool climate region, Itara, 18 km from the coast. No SO2 is added save for a little at bottling, and this wine spends 6 months on its skins in tinajas (clay amphorae). Wonderfully complex, lively and intense with citrus, pear, grape and mineral notes. Lovely texture and depth, with freshness and complexity, and just a little grip on the palate. 94/100

De Martino Gallardia Cinsault Rosé 2013 DO Secano Interior, Chile
This is from Itata, but because it is made of Cinsault, has to be given the broader regional DO of Secano Interior. Pale pink in colour, this is delicate and subtle with some texture on the palate as well as subtle cherry fruit. A bright yet elegant rosé. 91/100

De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault 2013 DO Secano Interior, Chile
This is made in tinajas, but has only one month maceration on the skins. It'sthen pressed and put back into the tinajas, and for the local market no SO2 is added at all, even at bottling (export versions get a little SO2 at bottling). Fresh, supple and expressive with bright, primary cherry and berry fruits. Very fresh and vivid with bright, lively berry fruits and some grippiness. A lovely vivid wine. 92/100

De Martino Limávida Old Bush Vines 2011 Chile
This is from an old vineyard (1945) that is mainly Malbec, but has other things planted in it. It is made in 5000 litre foudres. Ripe, sweet, aromatic berry fruits nose is quite floral with some herb, cedar and vanilla notes. Very bright, vivid palate with intense berry fruits, high acidity and a creamy edge to the fruit. Lovely density and structure here, a really serious wine that needs some time to settle down. 94/100  

De Martino Las Cruces 2011 Cachapoal, Chile
A dry-farmed vineyard in Cachapoal planted in the 1950s that's a field blend, but is mostly Malbec and Carmenère, picked together and co-fermented (these would normally be harvested a month apart). Lots of whole berries are used. Ripe and smooth textured with lovely berry fruits and some black cherry depth. Nicely structured with good acidity: ripe yet fresh with good definition and weight. 93/100

De Martino Las Águilas Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Maipo, Chile
Lovely supple, ripe, sweet blackcurrant fruit with some cedar, minerals, tobacco and spice notes. A ripe yet fresh wine with nice balance and depth. Very stylish. 93/100

De Martino Alto de Piedras Carmenère 2011 Maipo, Chile
Just 12.8% alcohol, spends four months on skins. Supple, elegant and sweet with lovely black cherry and blackberry fruit. Lush and ripe but it has freshness and a bit of grip. A very stylish Carmenère. 93/100

De Martino Alto los Toros Syrah 2011 Elqui, Chile
From a vineyard at 2000 m altitude, this has 10% Petit Verdot in the blend.  Lovely olive and pepper edge to the black fruits. So expressive. The palate is fresh, vivid and bright with nice blackfruits seasoned by pepper and spice. Lovely precision and spice here. 95/100

See also:

MOVI tasting wines made by independent producers in Chile
Visiting Chile (series)

Wines tasted 12/13  
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