The flagship 2009 Clos Apalta is a blend of 78% Carmenere, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot that is raised in new French oak over 24 months. It has a reticent nose at first that demands some coaxing, eventually offering black cherries, red currant and vanilla aromas that remain tight in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine balance, grainy ripe tannins, a core of blackberry and blueberry fruit laced with dark chocolate and a touch of tobacco. The symmetry and focus in this wine is admirable. It should age better than the 2001. Drink 2013-2022. ”
Where is Apalta?
Chile, just northwest of Santa Cruz. Lovely countryside, or at least it was in '98, when I visited Santa Cruz. Sweet people. I remember drinking very good wines there, though of course I don't remember which labels. But the description here sounds just about right.
I received my wine promptly after purchase. I have decided to lay the wine down for future years as I have about 400 bottles in lay-a-way in the house so we have wines that were bought in 2009 yet to drink. I took some of my stock market profits to buy this wine so that even when the stock market tanks, well, at least I got something good out of the bullish times.
Wine Maker Notes
Our winemaking philosophy is to reflect the terroir from Apalta by crafting a wine based in Carmenère, with Merlot and Cabernet. A truly hand crafted wine, we nurture our vines and attend to every detail to preserve the potential of the grapes. We hand harvest the fruit very early in the morning in small 14 kilos cases. The grapes were 100% hand de-stemmed in our Clos Apalta Winery so we maintain complete control of the quality. We fill our French oak tanks by gravity. Then nature does its work, allowing native yeasts that slowly ferment the must into wine with temperature control less than 26° C. Macerations lasted for about 4-5 weeks and during all that period we did manual punch downs to extract enough compounds from skins and seeds to get the desired structure and concentration. We rack the young new wine straight into 100% new French oak barrels by gravity. Malolactic fermentation happens in barrels, where the wine stays for 22 months, ageing patiently. The wine is bottled by gravity without any treatment or filtration.
2009 vintage had a winter with more rain than average with a total rainfall of 730 mm. Conditions during spring were good so bud breaking was 10 to 15 days earlier in Apalta than previous years. Spring was very dry with just 19 mm of rainfall within these 3 months, allowing nice flowering conditions. Summer had high maximum temperatures with windy and cool nights, which let the grapes ripen very fast, allowing us start harvest several days before regular date but also showing an amazing potential for making high quality wines.