Viña Apaltagua: New Releases from Chile

The Apaltagua Winery in Palmilla, Colchagua

The Apaltagua Winery in Palmilla, Colchagua

Viña Apaltagua consistently delivers value for money, especially at the under $15 range. As readers of our last review of the Grial Carmenère know, it also makes wines of world class quality.  We review some of Apaltagua’s new releases below.

US businessman Edward Tutunjian, previously owner of Boston’s largest taxi fleet, purchased the winery from the Donoso family in 2007 and has continued to expand holdings to include vineyards in Colchagua, Maule, Curicô, San Antonio and Maipo.  The general manager of Viña Apaltagua is Rodrigo Abarzúa, and the winemaker (since 2010) is Benjamin Mei, with consultant Alvaro Espinoza lending a hand on the Grial. Benjamin received his enology degree in Burgundy, after which he made wine in Pouilly-Fuissé, Languedoc-Roussillon, and Bordeaux before moving to Cbile to make wine in Colchagua in 2003.

We recently tasted some new releases from Viña Apaltagua, including the impressive Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Our reviews follow. For more on Apaltagua or Alvaro Espinoza, consult our earlier articles.  To learn more about the secrets of Carmenère, consult our Report # 21 The Chilean Wine Revolution. These wines are imported by Global Vineyard Importers.

Apaltagua 2011 Pinot Noir Reserva Tricao Valley Curico ($12) 88  The Reserve Pinot Noir reveals sweet dark red cherry with good depth of flavor and some complexity. Cherry fruit runs through the wine, finishing with medium hard tannins.

Apaltagua 2012 Chardonnay Reserva Unoaked Casablanca ($12) 88  Fresh and crisp in character, the Apaltagua Chardonnay offers good value for money. Its high acidity makes it a good accompaniment to food and a good alternative to Sauvignon Blanc for pairing with seafood.

Apaltagua 2011 Carmenère Reserva Colchagua ($12) 88+  Showing spicy red plum on the nose, the Carmenère Reserva is flavorful and well-balanced, showing good varietal character with attractive herbal notes on a medium-weight palate.  Soft tannins make this wine ready to drink young. A very good wine for the price.

Apalgatua 2010 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley ($40) 90  Aged in new oak for 18 months, the Signature Cabernet Sauvignon is still a youthful wine needing a couple of years in bottle. Blackberry, toasted oak and herbs show on the nose. It’s a full-bodied wine, rich in toasted oak and cassis with herbal notes and finishing with substantial tannins that will take time to resolve. Grapes come from Apaltagua’s Pirque vineyard.

Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler

January 2013

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