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2009 Chilcas "Las Almas" Carmenére Maule Valley Chile (Case of 6)
SRP: $49.99 Bottle / $299.94 Case of 6
1-55 Cases Landed Profit Margin: 37.97%
56+ Cases Landed Profit Margin: 41.63%
FOB Profit Margin: 46.32%
REGION: Maule Valley, Chile
VARIETALS: 97% Carmenére 3% Cabernet Franc
ANALYSIS: 14.0% alc/vol | TA: 3.0 g/L | pH: 3.50
Our 2009 Las Almas Carmenére comes from the Maule Valley, 260 km (162 mi) south of Santiago. The valley is very geographically diverse, with a Mediterranean climate and well-defined seasons, with warm, dry summers with a significant daytime-night time temperature variation. Winters are cold and rainy. Average annual precipitation in the valley is 670–700 mm (26–28 in), most of which falls in winter, which leads to more concentrated wines. The lack of rainfall after the winter enables better control of plant vigor, keeps the grape berries small, and helps the bunches ripen uniformly. The Carmenére grapes that go into this wine are from the 10-year old vines in Block 16 of the La Esperanza vineyard. These vertically trained vines are planted 1.5 x 2.2 m apart and drip-irrigated. Pruning limits the spurs to 6 per plant, which results in 12 shoots per plant. Canopy management began with pulling undesired shoots in spring. Near the end of December, the leaves around the clusters were removed on the morning sun side to achieve good fruit exposure and ventilation. Cluster thinning consisted of eliminating bunches on short shoots, those with incomplete veraison, and conglomerations of excess clusters. Yield was just 6 tons per hectare.
The estate’s alluvial soils were formed in the plain between the Claro and Maule Rivers and are situated on high terraces, generally with shallow to moderate tuff substrate layers. Most of the soils are loam to clay-loam in texture with moderate fertility, less than 5% organic material, and an average depth of 80 cm. Vineyard altitude is 153 m (500 ft) above sea level.
The 2008-2009 season will be remembered for the excellent health of the grapes. Precipitation fell mostly in winter and reached slightly over 700 mm (27.5 in). In contrast, summer was dry, with no rainfall recorded. Recorded temperatures reached a low of just under 5oC (41oF) in September and highs above 30oC (86oF) in January. Maximum temperatures were nearly 1oC (1.8oF) lower than in the previous year and up to 3oC (5.4oF) lower in February. Seasonal temperatures were generally mild and well defined, with few instances of frost that could have affected production. As temperatures were within normal range, the different phenological stages were not delayed. The quality and aromatic intensity of the reds was moderate to very good and the wines displayed intense color and good quality tannins.
The Carmenére grapes were hand picked in the early morning during the first week of May. They were immediately taken to the winery, where they underwent a second selection on a sorting table then were gently destemmed to minimize breakage of the berries. A 2-day pre-fermentation cold soak was carried out at 8°C-10°C (46°F-50°F), and then 100% of the grapes were fermented for 18-22 days in stainless steel tanks at 26°C-27oC (79°F-81°F). During fermentation, 3 to 4 pumpovers were carried out to move 50-100% of the volume, as determined by enological tasting. The final blend was aged for 10 to 12 months in 80% French and 20% American oak barrels, 100% of them new. The wine was naturally cold stabilized during the winter and later earth-filtered prior to bottling.
Our 2009 Las Almas Carmenére is deep, dark purplish-red in color. The nose offers very intense cherry and blackberry aromas mingled with spicy notes of black pepper and coffee, as well as pleasing, enjoyably intense notes of toast and caramel from the barrel aging. Good volume, juicy and elegant on the palate, with very good structure. Its fine, velvety tannins reveal a very concentrated wine with a pronounced and elegant persistence on the palate. Las Almas is a special wine that pairs well with game meats, exotic poultry, and complex dishes with sweet spices and condiments. Best served at 18oC (64oF).
91 pts-International Wine Cellar-Josh Raynolds