Meli: Chilean Wine Made from Dry Farmed, Old Vines in Maule

Adriana Cerda (pictured below) is one of Chile’s better known enologists. She was winemaker at Viña De Martino for many years, including its launch of Chile’s first bottling of Carmenere in 1996. But she always wanted a vineyard of her own, and she finally has it in Meli, a project she is jointly developing with her three sons and grower Sergio Dusaillant. Adriana also makes wine at Lagar de Bezana, a new winery in the Cachapoal Valley.

The Meli vineyard consists of 13 sandy hectares of dry farmed, sixty year old Riesling and Carignane vines, perhaps the oldest in Chile of these particular varietals. It’s located 260 km south of Santiago in the Valle de Loncomilla, one of the Maule Valley’s three principal wine growing regions. Meli is a member of MOVI [Movimiento de Vinateros Independientes], an association of 19 small, garagiste wineries. As we noted in our Report # 21 The Chilean Wine Revolution, Chile is the land of large, commercial wineries. Small producers like Meli and many others are now becoming increasingly common. But too often they have difficulty entering the US market. Thanks to Global Vineyard Importers of Berkeley, CA, Meli is available in the US, and consumers now have the opportunity to try these charming, inexpensive wines.

Meli 2008 Riesling Maule Valley (87) $12

Made from Riesling cuttings imported from Germany over 60 years ago, this wine is subtly flavored, yet fresh and crisp. The nose shows light citrus with a wet gravel note, while the palate has excellent acidity and relatively low alcohol, the result of using especially selected yeasts. This is an easy drinking wine perfect for a hot summer picnic lunch. Only 500 cases produced. Good value.

Meli 2008 Carignane Maule Valley (90) $15
The Maule Valley is famous for its old vine Carignane, and winemaker Adriana Cerda has crafted a beauty here. It has a beautiful, bright medium red color and an attractive nose of red raspberry and plum fruit. The palate is of medium weight with good acidity and structure. There’s an impressive purity of red fruit on the palate that carries through to a long finish. 2000 cases produced. Extremely good value!

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