Alberto Valdivieso traveled to Champagne and fell in love with the region. In 1879 he founded Champagne Valdivieso in Chile, the first sparkling wine producer in Chile and also the first in South America. Today Viña Valdivieso is owned by the Mitjans family and is one of the most celebrated and prestigious winery in Chile.
Valdivieso makes approximately 50% sparkling wine and 50% still wine. Its sparkling wine facility is in Santiago where the family first started making sparkling wines in Chile in 1879. The still wines are made in Londue which is 200 kilometers south of Santiago.
Winemaker – Brett Jackson
I had the opportunity to meet with winemaker Brett Jackson, who has greatly contributed to the success of Valdivieso. His wines have earned top scores, accolades, medals and awards. His implementation of state of the art technology and high standards have catapulted Valdivieso’s respect and reputation around the world.
Brett’s winemaking experience spans the globe. After his university studies, he left New Zealand to learn winemaking. Often times he worked different hemispheres in the same year in order to understand winemaking techniques and best practices from around the globe. Brett spent time making wine in New Zealand, California, South Africa, Southern France and Champagne.
After traveling extensively and making wines around the world, Brett came to Chile in the 1990’s. It was during a time when Chile was exploding and there were amazing opportunities in winemaking. Now Brett has been at Valdivieso for seventeen years. It has been a fascinating journey for him, he has been involved in bringing incredible growth and prestige to the region. He says Chile now has its mojo and the confidence to produce and experiment with winemaking in a way it was not able to in the past.
Brett says that Chile has gone through growing pains but is now recognized as a world-class player. Brett and other prominent producers in Chile are experimenting with cool varietals that are unique to the region. There is a whole new generation of winemakers that have strong credentials, and they want to make unique and special wines. Brett says, “Chile finally has the confidence to play with varietals and produce exceptionally unique wines.” The many varietals and exceptional wines of Valdivieso are setting the bar high for Chilean wines.
Wines of Valdivieso
Over lunch we tasted through Valdivieso premium wines from ÉCLAT and Caballo Loco. The wines showcased Brett’s exceptional expertise in bringing unique varietals to the region. The wines over delivered on quality at exceptional price points. Each wine below captures the unique terroir and characteristics of Chile, resulting in wines that garner extraordinary appeal.
Éclat Cinsault 2017
Éclat is Valdivieso line of wines from Itata, where winemaking began in Chile. Wines have been produced in the region since the 17th century. Made on 30 year vines this wine is all dry farmed, allowing it to accentuate the fruit. There is a nice floral edge with crisp acidity. A beautiful wine that will leave you salivating for more.
Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2015 Curico Valley
The Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet is from their terroir series. The fruit comes from the vineyard “La Rosa”, in Sagrada Familia, Valle de Curicó, which is 50 years old and is located in a small valley near the mountain range of the coast. The wine exudes great aromatics on the palate. There is a balance of flavor of fruits, cedar and herbal notes, that is very typical of a Cabernet Franc. The tannins are soft and elegant due to the older vines. Brett has tasted a 20 year vertical for this Cabernet Franc and found it was highly ageable, as the older vintages were tasting phenomenally.
Éclat Tempranillo 2017
Tempranillo is new addition to Chile, having been around for only 15-20 years. The Éclat Tempranillo has 10% Grenache which gives it a slight floral component. The wine is deep and concentrated yet has a nice freshness and richness. The cool climate helps retain the acidity of the wine and gives the wine balance. A very distinct and high quality Tempranillo.
Caballo Loco Grand Cru Apalta 2014 Colchagua Valley
Their top-tier line of Valdivieso is Caballo Loco. Caballo Loco (Crazy Horse) is produced in the famous solera style, which is a blend of various vintages. Made in the classical Solera style, the wines of the Caballo Loco series showcase the region of Colchagua Valley.
The Apalta is a big juicy rich red wine, based around Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. This Grand Cru Apalta represents all the fruit power and smoothness of the Colchagua Valley, with a blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 70% Carmenere. The palate explodes with ripe flavors of stone fruits that are captured by rich tannins. A memorable wine that grips all the senses.
Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2014 Limari Valley
The Limari Valley has a strong maritime influence. The cooling Camanchaca Fog enters from the sea every morning and stays in the vineyards until the sun appears from the mountains and retreats as the sunrises over the Andes. With very low annual rainfall, the use of drip irrigation allows the vines to root deep into the very mineral driven soil. The result is a fresh wine with a distinctive minerality.
This is a 100% pure bred Syrah. As Brett has stressed on several occasions, the Limari Valley is a challenging area to grow Syrah. The terroir is composed of unique soil compositions of calcium, limestone and salt. Typically you associate Syrah with gravel and granitic soils, but the combination of calcium and salt from the terroir gives you a very classic Syrah with white pepper and black olive notes. There is wonderful ripeness and richness on this award-winning Syrah.
Valdivieso Éclat Vigno 2010
This is a very unique and special product of Chile. Vigno (Vignadores de Carignan) is a group of 14 wineries that created rules for the production of old-vine Carignan within a delimited area. The Carignan must be produced from old vines aged 30+ and dry farmed from the Maule Valley.
The vines for this Éclat Vigno are 60 years old, resulting in a wine with a deep rich red color. The nose is complex with the presence of red fruits and soft floral notes. Intense, elegant and downright delicious. A well structured wine with soft tannins and vibrant acidity that balances the fruit present.