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Exquisite, fine, cedary cabernet from one of Casa Real's coolest and latest vintages (harvested in May). Matured for 14 months in barrel until the tannins are silky.
Product Code: CE7901
"Enjoying the 2007 at present (Dec 2015); fresh and medium bodied with blackberry flavours, soft tannins and lovely balanced acidity. Still worth an hour in a decanter to soften it off. Great match with woodcock with shallot puree and oatcakes with mature cheddar. Excellent value."
Decanter 26th Aug 2015
"Tense but plush,
there's a lovely balance to this wine, and it should age well too. - Peter Richards MW"
JancisRobinson.com (4th Jul 2013)
"Fragrant, appetising if low-key nose. Very well mannered with attractive freshness and a hint of mint. Drying finish. Serious wine, brow furrowed. Demure. Well intentioned. Certainly the opposite of flashy. Cool finish. Juicy fruit but slightly timid structure. "
View all products by Viña Santa Rita
Viña Santa Rita is one of a number of aristocratic wineries founded at the end of the 19th century in Chile, situated around a magnificent house and gardens, which are pictured on the label of their top wine, Casa Real. It has developed into one of the biggest and best wineries in Chile, and now has more than 3,000 hectares planted to vine in the country’s most highly esteemed valleys, including Maipo, Rapel, Limarí, Casablanca and Leyda. However, somewhat surprisingly, the company has managed to keep attention to detail in the vineyards a priority, and still has a committed focus on quality. For instance, the company employs three experts whose sole job is to drive around Chile finding the best vineyard sites and parcels, and also benefits from the worldwide experience and expertise of its vineyard manager, Sebastián Warmier. As for the vineyards they already own, the viticultural team uses individual block farming, and the winery team vinifies these blocks separately to achieve a more precise and concentrated character. The overall aim is to achieve a balance in the fruit, and Santa Rita’s ethos is all about finding this balance in the vineyard, rather than manufacturing it in the winery. Santa Rita has an impressive five wineries, all of which are packed full of the latest technological advances, and have the capacity to store around 90 million litres of wine in total. The main winery is at Alto Jahuel, which has been declared a national monument, and it is here that the super-premium Casa Real range is aged.Minimal intervention is the order of the business here, with very little pumping over used, even in the company’s more expensive wine ranges – the aim is to achieve the concentration desired by using good-quality grapes rather than over extraction. The team sometimes blends less expensive wines with excess left over from some of the better labels to achieve an added level of complexity.Casa Real is made using old vine cabernet sauvignon from the foot of the Andes in the Maipo Valley. After fermentation, it undergoes malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels, before ageing in new French oak for around 14 to 16 months.Santa Rita also produces Lascar, an everyday wine range blended exclusively for The Society, which consistently tastes more expensive than it is.As well as environmental sustainability concerns, the company also has an admirable sense of social responsibility: workers are provided with healthcare, education, and entertainment like live music concerts. At only a 45-minute drive south of Santiago, it makes a wonderful place to visit. There is a good restaurant and a world-class museum (entry is free), built by the now deceased millionaire owner, Ricardo Claro, to house his superb collection of pre-Columbian art gold jewellery, feather headdresses, textiles and carvings from Easter Island, clavas (Indian chiefs’ symbols of power), among other artefacts.
The Spanish conquerors introduced vinifera vines to Chile, and with them the establishment of vineyards for winemaking, in the middle of the 16th century, and the area around the capital Santiago has a history of winemaking stretching back nearly four and a half centuries. By the middle of the 19th century the Chilean wine industry was well established, but was making fairly rustic fare and it was a well-travelled local called Silvestre Ochagavia Echazzarreta who, in 1851, brought a French winemaker and a cargo of vine cuttings back from his travels to France and set a new era in motion.Robust domestic consumption kept demand, and tax revenue, high in the 20th century until domestic drinkers turned away in the 1970s and 1980s and many vineyards were pulled during the unsettling political upheavals of the former decade. The return of democracy stimulated investment and growth and a forward thinking, export oriented industry pointed to a brighter future.Quality begins, absolutely in the vineyard. In the last ten years Chile has begun to plant vineyards not just by matching variety and climate, which it has done very well up to now, but by mapping and analysing soils before planting. This new generation of soil-mapped vineyards planted in the last decade, with higher density, rootstocks and drip irrigation, or no irrigation, is now just starting to bear fruit and will revolutionise the quality of Chilean wines.Chile became first known for its cheap cabernets and merlots made from high yields in the fertile, warm, flat, flood-irrigated Central Valley. However, Chile is no longer a cheap country to buy from. Its economy is based on copper. It is the world's largest producer. Booming demand from China has seen its currency, the peso, strengthen, much like the Australian dollar which has been buoyed by its mineral resources. Labour for the wine industry is becoming more expensive and scarcer as it has to compete with the highly profitable mining industry which can afford to pay more. Energy costs have risen rapidly. It is estimated that half the vineyard area of Chile, about 62,500ha, is less than 15 years old. It probably takes 8-20 years to pay back a vineyard, and about 30 for a bodega. In Spain one can buy lovely 60-year-old-vine garnacha from co-operatives in Calatayud or Navarra at very cheap prices. The capital costs of the vineyard and winery have long been absorbed and the old vines offer lovely quality too.There are massive viticultural possibilities. This remarkable 3,000-mile-long country includes all the world's climates apart from sub-tropical and tropical. Grape varieties need different climates to prosper and Chile can accommodate them all.Many of Chile's cheap wines came from the flat, fertile and warm Central Valley, ideal for ripening large crops of very good entry-level wines. Before the advent of drip irrigation only these flat vineyards were suitable for flood irrigation. However, these flat lands were also situated in a warm climate and had fertile soils. The availability of drip irrigation allowed the planting of the cooler and less fertile south facing slopes, and availability of rootstocks allowed a greater diversity of soils to be planted.From Elqui in the north to Rapel in the middle of the country the rainfall increases from 90mm to 550mm. This lack of rainfall means Chile is free from most fungal diseases and has some of the healthiest grapes in the world. Water reserves from snow in the Andes, and the advent of drip irrigation (a vine needs about 700mm a year to survive) has allowed cool south-facing slopes, with less fertile soils, to be cultivated and yields controlled. From Maule down to Bío-Bío rainfall increases from 550 to 1,500mm and there are many unirrigated vineyards here.As well as the north to south dynamic, there is also a huge temperature variation east to west. Dr Richard Smart, a viticulture guru, says that to combat global warming viticulturists should head to the mountains or to the coast. Chile has both. More vineyards are being planted in the Andes mountains up to 2,000m, where average temperature decreases by 0.6°C with every 100 metres of altitude. The coast, cooled by the 14°C Pacific Ocean, has spawned a remarkable recent growth in vineyards. First came Casablanca (1982), then Leyda (1998), swiftly followed by Limarí (2005), Elqui, Aconcagua and Rapel. In between, the Central Valley and its offshoots like Apalta and Peumo are much warmer and are typically ideal for carmenère, and the southern Rhône varieties which are starting to appear, or for ripening large crops of cabernet and merlot to make cheaper wines.If Chile has successfully understood the matching of climate with grape variety, what it did not do, until recently, other than by accident, was to match the climate and variety with the right soil. There has been a step change in the quality of vineyards planted in the last 10 years or so. Knowledge about the soil following scientific analysis, appropriate planting density, choice of rootstocks, excellent clonal and massale selections of grape varieties, ability to plant cooler and less fertile south-facing slopes with the advent of drip irrigation (flood irrigation can only cope with virtually flat land) have all conspired to revolutionise the quality of vineyards planted in the past decade or so.For a more detailed examination of Chile and its regions please go to our How To Buy Chile section of our web site.
Another cool year, though dry, with many whites recording lower-than-usual alcohol levels. Elegance and poise are often to be found and stylistically there are similarities to 2010. Pinot noir performed particularly well.
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