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Ripe, fruity Chilean carmenère with a fresh black pepper nose and a round velvety palate.
Product Code: CE11501
View all products by Viña Undurraga SA
Few will realise that Undurraga actually began as far back as 1879 when Francisca Undurraga Vicuña began bringing European grape cuttings back to his native Chile. He brought pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon from France and gewürztraminer and riesling from Germany, transporting the cuttings in lead capsules to stop them wilting in the extreme heat.Viña Undurraga was officially founded in 1885 and had its first harvest in 1891. It was the first Chilean winery to export to the US, in 1903, and Undurraga wine won its first international award as early as 1910. By the 1940s the company was already producing 30,000 bottles a year, rising to almost half a million bottles by the 1960s, a portion of which they exported to around 60 countries. During this time they enjoyed visits from royalty, as well as first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong!Throughout the final decades of the 20th century, the company continued to grow. However, when millionaire José Yuraszeck took ownership in 2006, Undurraga underwent significant modernisation. One of the results was the introduction of the TH or 'Terroir Hunter' range – which seeks out wines which combine the best match of climate, soil and grape variety. Undurraga’s vineyard area now stands at 1,800ha, which is managed by Agricultural Manager Francisco Valdivieso. The vineyards occupy various popular vine-growing sites across Chile, each of which is chosen for its suitability to particular grape varieties. Like many Chilean producers, Undurraga attempts to practise environmentally friendly viticulture, and interferes with nature as little as possible. With that in mind, the company uses drip irrigation in its vineyards, as it has proven the most effective both in terms of fruit quality and caring for their surroundings.Winemaking is managed by Rafael Urrejola, one of Chile's brightest young winemakers, who is also responsible for the TH range. Undurraga has two state-of-the-art winemaking cellars with a 20 million-litre capacity, so Rafael is also assisted by talented winemakers Carlos Concha and Patricio Lucero. In addition, Undurraga receives support from renowned oenologist Alvaro Espinoza, and Frenchman Philippe Coulon advises them on the production of their sparkling wine.The cool underground cellars, dating back to Undurraga’s beginnings in the nineteenth century, provide the ideal environment for ageing their Reserva wines.Unsurprisingly, Undurraga wines continue to win a host of prestigious awards each year, with its premium wines achieving consistently high scores amongst critics.
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.
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"Not to my taste."
Mr Alan Wallace (09-Sep-2020)
"Not as Inky or full as the last vintage perhaps, but still very enjoyable as a dark, tannic and dry red."
Mr Thomas Day (29-Aug-2020)
Mr Alastair Allan (03-Jul-2020)
"If, like me, you occasionally go off reds then this maybe this is the one to welcome you back. The tannins are muted, the finish is medium and the taste is fruit bomb plus liquorice. At this price an outstanding wine - this year’s go to red for the whole family. "
Mr Roger Brooke (12-Jun-2020)
Mr Piers Beckley (09-Jun-2020)
"Very Chilean. Very Carmenere. I suspect this is ok for what it is but it’s not to my taste. I thought I’d try it in the back of the other reviews, but whilst it is ok, it has reinforced my opinion that this is not to my taste. "
Mr Matthew Harris (30-May-2020)
"Really enjoying this wine. Lovely flavours & depth. Good value."
Mr Richard Mather (01-May-2020)
"For sheer value I'll give it 5*, it's my favourite sub £10 red I can think of. Inky, black fruits and strong tannins, rich and spicy with a long vegetal finish, almost like green peppers! So delicious."
Mr Thomas Day (23-Mar-2020)
"I liked this wine very much. It has the notes that my palate enjoys: plenty of red fruit flavours such as redcurrant and raspberry, and a pleasant taste of delicate plum. It is full in the mouth with a gentle finish and not too much tannin for me. I recommend it and will buy it again as a good winter wine."
Mr Michael Riley (11-Mar-2020)
"Typically robust and best enjoyed with food. Rich flavour, but not the last thing in smoothness. Overall, I found it enjoyable enough to consider again."
Mr James Sturt (23-Feb-2020)
"I purchased this wine as the excellent Koyle DO Los Lingues Colchagua Carmenere I had before was out of stock - and the Undurraga was offered by the WS as an alternative. In my opinion the Undurraga is nowhere near as good as the Koyle, which I note is the maker of the Society's Exhibition Carmenere @ £11.95.
Please bring back the Koyle DO Carmenere @ around £8 which was fantastic value for money."
Mr Stuart Bowden (15-Jan-2020)
"At £7.95 this isn't the cheapest Carmenère you can buy but it's well worth the extra. Lovely balanced and harmonious flavour without being as fruit forward as many Carmenères. The Society's notes suggest that it will keep till 2022. I'm sure it has the structure to do so and i'm determined to keep at least one bottle till then to see what extra time in the bottle will contribute to what is already a most enjoyable wine. We drank it with cheese and crackers. We thought the slightly harder cheeses such as Wensleydale went better with it than brie and Camembert"
Mr Michael J Webber (14-Jan-2020)
"Lovely ripe full red. The initial taste is chilli, without any of the heat, then full fruit. I would buy this wine again - good value."
Mrs Heather Carr (30-Nov-2019)
"I prefer the Lascar Classic Carmenere This has too much full on Carmenere flavour for me. It was better with a spicy green curry though hence 3 stars. "
Mr Michael Cuell (23-Nov-2019)
Dr Nigel J Brown (08-Aug-2019)
"Perfectly acceptable. Reasonable value for the price. Not too memorable. "
Prof Michael Simmons (21-May-2019)
"I have been buying this reserve carmenere for a few years and have been delighted each year it has been produced and this current year's vintage 2018 is no exception. It is extremely quaffable and I cannot think of anything to dislike about it. The smooth fuity flavour and a minimum amount of tannin definetly hits the spot. I will be certainly continue to buy more as long as it is available."
Mr Chris Godfrey (11-Apr-2019)
"I bought this in the basis of the positive reviews. I'm not a great fan of the Carmenere grape and this wine is a rather intense specimen. It has an Intensely stalky flavour - it's quite fruity but not pleasant. It probably pairs with smokey barbecue dishes ... at a push; but otherwise I think it will kill most other foods. My wife also disliked it. Obviously we all like different things; but if serving to guests, be careful.
Mr Richard Hadfield (11-May-2019)
"Highlight of recent mixed red case, real crowd pleaser when shared with friends. Bigger and juicier than other Carmeneres I've tasted, just yummy!"
Mrs Harriet Barr (12-Feb-2019)
"I have always regarded Chilean wines as save buys, only one of the many dozens being a a disappointment. This is the most delicious Chilean wine I have ever tasted and amazingly inexpensive. A wonderful unusually strong fruity flavour."
Mr Fraser Adam (08-Feb-2019)
"Wow. For a £7.50 this is a cracking wine. Good by itself and stands up well to rich food and roasts. Will definitely be buying more. "
Mr Daniel Stansfield (03-Feb-2019)
"I have tried many different carmeneres from many different suppliers and this one wins first prize. It's the perfect easy-drinking any time red and to my taste is the perfect example of this Chilean grape. Absolutely gorgeous and I agree with all the other positive reviews."
Mr Chris Pring (31-Jan-2019)
"Lovely soft, easy drinking wine, certainly value for money."
Mrs Elissa Patterson (26-Jan-2019)
"One of my favourite grapes and this does not disappoint. Excellent value for money. "
Miss Deborah Davis (02-Jan-2019)
"I followed the advise of the 2 previous reviews and can say I'm delighted. Excellent wine for a beautiful price. I definitely recommend. "
Mr Daniel Sanchez (19-Nov-2018)
"Have just purchased and opened my first bottle and have to completely agree with the earlier review it is an absolute delight and a steal at the price"
Mr Alan D Smith (04-Oct-2018)
"This is a beautifully smooth Carmenere with lots of soft fruit and of course very good value. I have bought several bottles and will certainly be buying more. "
Mr Chris Godfrey (23-Jul-2018)
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