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The wines of Villard Estate, Casablanca, Chile

Villard Estate, La Concepción 165, Of. 507, Providencia, Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 235 7857 Fax: +56 2 235 7671
E-mail: info@villard.cl Website: www.villard.cl
UK agent: Capricorn Wines (0161 908 1360; guys@capricornwines.co.uk)

Frenchman Thierry Villard is taking a very French approach to making premium wines in Chile: he’s aiming for terroir expression, and not just pure fruit flavours. He comes across as a thoughtful, focused winemaker. Villard is a tiny operation by Chilean standards, with 23 ha of vineyards – although this would still be quite a respectable size in Europe. In Casablanca the vineyards experience hot days and cold nights: typically days in summer reach 28-30°C by day and 4-5°C by night, helping to retain acidity in the grapes. The soils consist of a layer of fine soil with clay underneath. In addition, Villard also buys grapes from a grower in Maipo. The results are quite impressive, but despite their relative elegance, you’d never mistake these wines for their European counterparts.

Expresion Sauvignon Blanc 2002 Casablanca
Very crisp and grassy. Fresh with high acid. Quite nice. Very good

Expresion Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Casablanca
Quite spicy with good acidity. Crisp and with nice balance: at the fuller end of the Sauvignon spectrum. Very good

Expresion Chardonnay 1999 Casablanca
Vivid intense fruit with a toasty, herby edge. Rich palate with lots of nutty fruit. Very good+

Expresion Chardonnay 2000 Casablanca
Crisp, intense fruit on the nose; good concentration of nutty fruit on the palate. A rich, attractive wine. Very good+

Expresion Pinot Noir 2000 Casablanca
Palish colour. Lovely herby complexity to the nose, with some sweet-edged fruit. The palate displays good weight of savoury herby fruit. Interesting and with good varietal character. Very good

Expresion Merlot 1999 Maipo
Attractive forward nose of spicy berry fruits. The palate is rich, fruity and juicy. Nice balance. Very good+

Expresion Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Maipo
Focused blackcurrant fruit with pure, juicy fruit and high acid on the palate. Soft and rich but with an acid kick. Very good

Esencia Reserva Chardonnay 1999 Casablanca
Yellow/gold colour. Quite a rich style. Toasty, herby nose leads to a rich palate with a strongly herbal element, together with some spicy oak. Very good+

Esencia Reserva Pinot Noir 1999 Casablanca
Tight nose with some savoury herbal notes and a spicy edge. Savoury, spicy edge to the undergrowthy palate with good acid. Interesting. Very good+

Esencia Reserva Merlot 1998 Maipo
Very deep red/black colour. Restrained savoury berry fruit on the nose. Soft, juicy fruit on the palate which displays sweet berry fruit and good acidity. Distinctly Chilean but quite classy. Very good+

Equis Gran Vino Tinto 1999 Maipo
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Very open sweet juicy black fruits on the nose: lush and intense. The palate is soft, rich and very concentrated. Intense and full with nice spiciness and suave tannins. Very good/excellent

Equis Gran Vino Tinto 1998 Maipo
Very attractive full nose: herby with a menthol edge. The palate is vivid and juicy with a nice medicinal edge. Full on and interesting, if a tiny bit rustic. Very good/excellent

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