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Principal El Principal Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Syrah originating from old, ungrafted vines. Deep, intense ruby red, black fruit and cassis aromas, well-integrated woody notes, great structure and balance. Ripe and present tannins, elegant and sophisticated in the mouth, a pure expression of the terroir.
Denomination of Origin: Maipo Andes Valley
Vineyard altitude: 800 meters above sea level
Soil: Alluvial origin, Clay loam.
Climate: Sub humid Mediterranean with big influence of the Andes Mountains.
Thermal oscillation: Between 18º and 22ºC.
Viticulture system: Espalier
Pruning: Double Guyot
Yield 4.500 kg/ha
Cool maceration (8°C): 6 days.
Alcoholic fermentation: 6 days.
Post fermentative maceration: 16 days.
Barrel aging: 20 months, new French oak
Bottling: February 2016
Bottle aging: Minimum 2 year in the bottle before release to the market.
Total Acidity: 5.9 g/L
RS: 2 g/L
- Descorchados (November 2017), 95 pts
"This complex cuvée of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Syrah from some of the highest vineyards in Pirque is built to age in bottle. Aged in 75) new wood, it’s serious, concentrated yet beautifully balanced, with very fine tannins, some aromatic mocha oak, layers of dark fruit and a backbone of acidity. 2022-30"
- Tim Atkin (Chile 2018 Special Report), 94 pts
The winery was named after the Picunche Chief Andetelmo, known as 'El Principal', master of the lands where the wintery at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the Alto Maipo Valley is located today.
The winery is owned and operated by two families - Jochen Döhle and the Said-Handal family.
Viña El Principal was orifinally a partnership between Jorge Fontaine, owner of the estate, and the French winemaker Jean Paul Valette, former owner of the famous Premier Grand Cru Classé Chateau Pavie in Saint-Émilion. Their goal was to produce a top-quality range of red wines that fully reflected the Chilean soul and the Valette family's heritage and experience in making fine wines. The El Principal terroir, located at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the Alto Maipo Valley was perfect for their project; its singular combination of climate, soil type, and altitude made ir ideal for producing wines with character, unique identity, and extraordinary quality.
Founded in 1992, Viña El Principal was originally a partnership between Jorge Fontaine, owner of the Hacienda El Principal, and the French winemaker Jean Paul Valette, former owner of the famous Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Pavie in Saint-Émilion.
Their goal was to produce a top-quality range of red wines that fully reflected the Chilean soul and the Valette family’s heritage and experience in making fine wines. The El Principal terroir, located at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the Alto Maipo Valley (D.O Maipo Andes) was perfect for their project; its singular combination of climate, soil type, and altitude made it ideal for producing wines with character, unique identity, and extraordinary quality.
The partners selected 54 hectares of the property to plant Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere varieties. Ten years later, the first vintage of the winery’s icon, the 1999 El Principal, was successfully released earning the international recognition as one of the Ultra Premium Chilean wines and confirming the potential of Chile as a world-class denomination of origin.
Today, El Principal is a family-owned winery. German shipowner Jochen Döhle bought the winery in 2005 and later partnered with the renowned Chilean Said-Handal family, who acquired 50 percent of the ownership in 2013. From the beginning, Mr. Döhle has been determined to continue making high quality wines, and his strategy has included planting additional hectares, searching for new varieties, and investing in equipment and storage facilities. Together the two families have overseen the execution of this strategy while maintaining the tradition and distinct identity of its wines.
The renowned Bordeaux consultant Patrick Léon, who joined the Viña El Principal team in 2006, has been crucial in the winery’s purist approach to winemaking. His talent and unparalleled experience in producing high quality wines has established him as a consulting winemaker for some of the most prestigious wineries in the world.
Patrick was the Technical Manager of Château Lascombes Crus Classé in Margaux and Château Castera in Lesparre-Médoc, and he also spent two decades as the Managing Director for Baron Philippe de Rothschild, where he oversaw the company’s vineyards and winemaking facilities for Château Mouton Rothschild, Clerc Milon, Le Petit Mouton, Aile d’Argent, Opus One in California, Almaviva in Chile, Domaine de Lambert and Domaine de Baron’arques in the Languedoc, and Mouton Cadet in Bordeaux.
THE ANDETELMO ESTATE: A UNIQUE TERROIR
There are many factors that contribute to the uniqueness of El Principal wines, and one of the most important is its exceptional terroir. The Andetelmo Estate now consists of 90 hectares of vineyards in the Alto Maipo Valley (D.O Maipo Andes), at the foot of the Andes Mountains, 750 to 950 meters above sea level.
Geographical influences have generated a diversity of soil types that allow each grape variety to reach its finest expression and lend a particular character to the wines. The varied soils present a true mosaic of colluvial, alluvial, and gravel-cone collections and deposits. The hills have light-colored clay marbled with lime sediments, stone, and gravel, which allows for good drainage.
Furthermore, the mineral-rich waters of the Maipo River that flows through the vineyard also lend subtle complexity to the wines. The cooling effects of the Andean winds and the Humboldt Current create particular climate conditions and a broad daily temperature oscillation of more than 20ºC. This slows the ripening process and allows the grapes to develop intense fruit flavors with high concentrations of polyphenols, deep color, and ripe, elegant tannins.
El Principal wines are made exclusively with grapes grown at the Andetelmo Estate in the Alto Maipo Valley. The vineyard has been mapped into micro-zones that consider soil, altitude, solar exposure, and climate to identify the perfect blocks for producing the best quality grapes for each wine.
The grapes are harvested entirely by hand with controlled production and the sorting of clusters both in the field and again at the winery. The grapes are lifted to the top of the tanks to achieve gentle gravity-flow filling and thus avoid using pumps. The vinification process begins with a 5-day cold maceration at 8º–10ºC, followed by alcoholic fermentation, which lasts 8–14 days at temperatures that fluctuate between 28ºC and 30ºC using gentle manual pumpovers managed in accordance with the concentration and degree of ripeness of the grapes to ensure a gentle and controlled extraction.
This traditional Bordeaux vinification process and later ageing in French oak ensures the inimitable character of El Principal wines that reflect the elegance and identity of their terroir.
Viña El Principal's oenology develops starting with the vineyards. The wines are exclusively processed with grapes grown on the lands, where the vineyards are continually studied as to their physiology and their relation to the terroir, in order to identify and perfect the best plots and thus obtain top quality raw material. Harvesting is carried out entirely by hand, with controlled production and the sorting of clusters both in the field and later in the wine cellars. This is followed by a careful traditional Bordeaux vinification process and ageing in French oak, resulting in the inimitable character of these wines capable of reflecting the elegance and identity of the terroir.
The winemaking process starts with a harvesting entirely by hand and sectorized. Later, also by hand, in the wine cellar and on a vibrating table, the best clusters are selected before entering the de-stemmer. An optical selector is used to pick out the best fruit. The grapes are raised to the upper part of the tanks to achieve gravity flow filling and thus avoid the use of a pump. Later, cold maceration (between 8 and 10ºC) takes place for 5 days, followed by the start of the alcoholic fermentation which is prolonged for 8 to 14 days at a temperature fluctuating between 28ºC and 30ºC, with gentle manual remontage according to the concentration and maturation of the grapes. This ensures a gentle and controlled extraction.
Segries Secret Grange Lirac Rouge is made from 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah.
This is a new wine for Chateau de Segries.
The wine is dark and inky.
The aromas are intense and complex. It has fruit flavors of course, Strawberry and Blackberry, but it also have some interesting spice components, garrigue, pepper and licorice.
The finish is long and very pleasant as the tannins are round and well integrated.
La Grange is the name of the parcel where the grapes are grown. The soil is Clay and Limestone.
The average age of the vines is 80 years old.
Classic vinification in temperature controlled tanks. The skin contact maceration lasted 30 days and was completed in cement tanks.
The wine went through MaloLactic fermentation and was bottled without filtration.La Grange is the name of the parcel where the grapes are grown. The soil is Clay and Limestone.
The average age of the vines is 80 years old.
Classic vinification in temperature controlled tanks. The skin contact maceration lasted 30 days and was completed in cement tanks.
The wine went through MaloLactic fermentation and was bottled without filtration.
A tiny production new cuvee (there are just 100 cases), the 2015 Lirac Secret de la Grange is similar to the Cuvee Reservee, yet has another level of polish, purity and finesse. Notes of blueberries, blackberries, crushed rocks, roasted meats, toasted spices and licorice all soar from this gorgeously concentrated, rich, yet seamless Lirac that has no hard edges, notable freshness and a great finish. It's straight up high class and should drink nicely for a decade. - Robert Parker 91 - 94
"La Brulade" is the name of a select slope located at an altitude of 400 meters overlooking the Mediterranean sea between La Baie d'Amour (the town of La Ciotat) in the South and La Sainte Baume in the North. This is one of the highest parcels in the Bandol appellation.
The wine is only produced in exceptional vintages. This carefully selected blend is made of 95% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache, aged in large French oak barrels for 24 months.
The wine shows a deep purple color. It is fresh and fruity on the nose with intense garrigue aromas. Structured, elegant and well-balanced on the palate with strong tannins. Licorice, ripe black fruits, garrigue flavors and some peppery freshness on the finish.
The 35-year old grapes are grown on clay and limestone soils and are farmed organically. Yield is very low - 15hl/ha. The grapes are harvested manually.
Winemaking: Double selection, destemming, crushing before skin contact fermentation. No filtration. Aging for 24 months in French oak casks (600L).
Grilled meat (lamb, beef, boar), Mediterranean cuisine, spicy dishes.
"The inky-colored 2015 Bandol Rouge la Brulade is 95% Mourvèdre, aged two years in demi-muids. Rich, plummy and intense, it showcases the power and majesty of Mourvèdre but somehow tames the tannins to manageable proportions. It's full-bodied and dense, boasting hints of lavender, thyme and sage to go along with the dark fruit flavors. It should drink well soon and remain strong through at least 2030. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Interim end of September, September 2018), 93 pts
The flagship 2015 Bandol Brulade is a powerful, serious Bandol that knocks it out of the park with its monster nose of dark fruits, cured meats, sandalwood, olive tapenade, and leathery characteristics. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and pure, with plenty of sexy fruit, it’s a terrific, serious Bandol that needs another 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for 15-20."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 27th 2019), 94 pts
Early to bud and early to ripen, the 2014 vintage was our third drought year in a row. Dry, even temperatures marched the grapes along at a steady clip all year and created a wine with beautifully integrated fruit, acidity, and tannin.
Dense and dark magenta in color, this is a lithe and energetic vintage with lifted aromatics and a purity of fruit that lights up the medium-bodied tannin structure. The nose promises fresh black fruits, cherries and a touch of graphite, and the palate completely delivers. Juicy blackberry, plum, and bright cherry explode in the mouth, and develop into savory notes of baked black fruit and fresh pencil shavings on the mid-palate.
Eagle Summit Vineyard’s signature eucalyptus appears on the back palate to brighten the fruit, showing fragrant peppermint and warm, toasty spices through the finish. Whether you open it young or wait a few decades, this vintage does Howell Mountain proud--sophisticated and smart, with a rustic wild side.
Cresta Velia Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Aged in 100% French oak (86% new)
• 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Eagle Summit Vineyard on Howell Mountain
• Equal amounts of clone 4 and clone 7
• unfined and unfiltered
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet aged 20 months in 86% new French oak, with the typical suspects in terms of cooperage – Darnajou, Taransaud, and Remond. This opaque purple-colored wine has plenty of mulberry and blackcurrant fruit along with hints of blackberries, camphor and incense. The are some notes of unsmoked cigar and licorice as well. Ripe, medium to full-bodied and luscious, it is a classic to drink over the next 15 or more years. - RP"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #228, December 2016), 90 pts
Principal Memorias Red Blend is made from 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot.
The image on the label represents the "spiral of life", a symbol that is found in all major ancient civilizations that represents the cycle of life and the everlasting evolution.
Memorias is a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend that includes Petit Verdot and Syrah, which was carefully crafted to achieve a perfect balance. It stands out for its great structure with soft and round tannins that will allow a complex evolution in the bottle.
Denomination of Origin: Maipo Andes Valley
63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah and 15% Petit Verdot.
Vineyard altitude: 780 meters above sea level.
Soil: Alluvial/colluvial origin, clay loam.
Climate: Sub humid Mediterranean with huge influence of the Andes Mountain.
Total Acidity: 5.94 g/L
RS: 2.0 g/L
- Descorchados (November 2017, 93 pts
"Gonzalo Guzman Cassanello collaborated on El Principal's wines with Patrick Léon, the longtime managing director of Bordeaux's Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, who first came to Chile in the 1990s to work on Almaviva. In the ripe 2014 vintage, they blended a relatively high proportion of syrah and petit verdot (22 and 15 percent, respectively) with cabernet sauvignon, creating an intriguing take on Pirque. Its flavors hint at ripe strawberries and darker notes of wild blackberries, the sweetness of that fruit held in a clean, light and delicate frame."
- Wine & Spirits Magazine (June 2019), 93 pts
Boich Wall Road Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pure dark fruits, plum preserves and dried blueberry notes are knit together with ribbons of crushed mineral and floral undertones, the palate is mouth coating and highlighted by ripe tannins and dense dark fruit and mineral notes. A long finish with wisps of pipe tobacco finish this exotic and expressive mountain Cabernet. Two hundred and twenty cases produced.
Vintage Notes – Marked by California’s ongoing drought, the 2014 vintage was notably early, garnering fruit with intense flavor. While vineyards throughout the valley reported pick dates up to three weeks ahead of schedule, moderate summer temperatures allowed grapes to ripen to perfection with outstanding quality and structure. Aromatic, luscious and fruit-forward, the wines of 2014 are proving ideal.
Wall Road Vineyard – This three-acre gem is located at the northern tip of the Mount Veeder AVA, due west of Oakville and the To Kalon vineyard. True to the Veeder AVA, this site delivers both the power and elegance we strive to achieve in our Mountain Cabernets. The elevation, slope orientation and well-drained soils yield fully ripened small berries with concentrated flavor.
Mount Veeder AVA – Known for its acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, this illustrious appellation produces graceful, expressive and world-renowned wine. Limited by nature, Mount Veeder’s rugged mountain terrain, high elevation and cooling influence from the San Pablo Bay allows for a long growing season that returns low, sought after yields. This results in powerful fruit with distinct berry flavors.
This is a thick, layered and leathery wine, with ample spice and complexity. Cinnamon, toast, clove, red currant and black cherry tones highlight a full-bodied robust experience of impressive integration and tamed tannins. -Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
Kinsella Estates Heirloom Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
20 months in French Oak (75% New)
Intense was the first word that came to mind. Purely focused tannin weaves its way through the core of this wine. Has a savory characteristic that we have found in past vintages (2014 to be specific) with a slight licorice note on the exceptionally long finish. While this vineyard has been described as “feminine” in the past, that is certainly not the case for this bigger, bolder vintage!
The Cabernet Sauvignon Casey’s Lakeview is similarly inky bluish/purple to the rim. Tasting like blood, this wine is dense and rich with lots of chocolate, espresso, earth and spice. It is deep, full-bodied, and again, a masculine style of wine that needs at least 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep for 25 or more years.
Lakeview Vineyard is the winery’s mid-block vineyard planted to a combination of clone 6 & 337 Cabernet Sauvignon on 101-14 rootstock. Excellent drainage from the rocky and chalky soils plus plenty of sunlight throughout the day produces wines of bold character with mouth filling flavors.
Organic farming methods are used to produce this Cabernet Sauvignon Casey's Lakeview vineyard. Vines are 17 years old. Ageing in French oak barrels (85% new) for 20 months, then 12 months in bottle prior to release. Non-filtered.
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Casey's Lakeview Vineyard is the most overt of these wines. Superripe black cherry, plum, chocolate and licorice add to an impression of flamboyance that sits on the edge of being too much. The effects of the drought are felt in the wine's slightly roasted profile. - Antonio Galloni"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2016), 91 pts
Heritage School Missiaens Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
A steep, rocky site with red volcanic soils results in our most structured and concentrated wine. Planted in 1998 using 110R rootstock and clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon our Hillside Vineyard produces wines as breathtaking as the views from its slopes. These tiny, dark blue berries ripen near the end of September thanks to cool afternoon temperatures allowing for increased hang time and developed flavors.
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Missiaen's Hillside Vineyard is the darkest and richest of these wines, but it also has enough structural breadth to handle all of that intensity. Superripe plum, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco and licorice all flesh out over time. This is an especially rich, seamless style, yet all the elements are in the right place. - Antonio Galloni"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2016), 92 pts
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
Babylons Peak Pinotage is made from 100 percent Pinotage.
Babylon's Peak winery, situated on the highest weathered granite slopes of the Paardeberg Mountain, is privately owned by the Basson family who has passed down the tradition, passion and art of winemaking over four generations. Predominantly low-yield dryland bushvines are selected to produce these excellent wines with distinctive character.
Dark red color, with ripe plums and mocha on the nose. Dark fruit followed by spice on the palate. A well balanced wine with smooth integrated tannins.
The Pinotage is dryland bushvines, planted on the highest south-east facing granite slopes on the farm. Due to its unique terroir, this vineyard ripens slowly over a very long period. This results in very dark color, soft tannins and good flavor compounds. The baboons normally harvest their quantity first and we pick the rest.
The grapes were harvested by hand at 25,6°B.and destalked only. No crushing was done. Cold maceration was done before fermentation started in open fermenters. The grapes fermented between 24-26°C for 5-7 days, after which the wine was taken to barrels where it went through malolactic fermentation. After malolactic fermentation was completed, the wine spent 12 months in 225 liter French oak barrels until bottling.
Pairs with lamb, bobotie and braaied red meat.