Aurelio Montes, our partner and gifted winemaker, knew it all along. Montes Folly was destined to shine by the hand of Aurelio, it was in his DNA since he was born. This sparked his intuition which, from his student days, became obsessed with the Apalta Valley and determined to prove it was the best terroir for reds in all of Chile, a fact few would dispute today.
Aurelio's intuition also led him to plant Syrah in the higher slopes of our Apalta Mountain Estate. Thus the Montes Folly name was born: The conventional wine growers and trade considered it "Folly" to plant Syrah, an untested variety in the region, and double "Folly" to do so in the higher slopes, extremely expensive to clear, plant and grow. The genius of Aurelio, however, had us all firmly believing from the start that Montes Folly would be the wild dream we sought, the perfect partner to our beloved Montes Alpha "M".
Montes Folly, another bold pioneering step forward, is a wild wine of truly exceptional quality, of a similar excellence level to Montes Alpha "M" but so different in style as the untamed sound of a saxo in a jazz concert would compare to a Stradivarius violin at the opera. One wild, one classical. Both stunning. Totally different. Both reaching for wine heaven, Olympus, in its own style.
Montes Folly is grown on the very highest slopes of our "la Finca de Apalta" vineyard, in Apalta Valley, with an inclination exceeding 45º degrees. Denomination of Origin is Santa Cruz, within Colchagua. These high reaches are home to the superb grapes that become Montes Folly, Chile's first ultra-premium Syrah. Yields are extremely low at less than 4 tons per hectare, with grapes and clusters that are much smaller and even more concentrated than in the vineyard's lower slopes. As a result, they deliver more colour and tannins, making Montes Folly richly colored, complex and powerful, with over 14% alcohol. Montes Folly's blockbuster style and lingering finish attest to its pedigree.
Harvested by acrobats, all grapes were hand-picked and sorted on a special selection table, where every grape not up to the quality required was removed. Once in the tank, a bleeding of 20% was made to concentrate flavor, ripe tannins and colour. Fermentation was triggered and completed with wild yeasts coming from the fields, giving a true expression of terroir. It was aged 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels. There was no fining and only one very light filtration before bottling. Production was limited to a mere 9,000 bottles. Our hearts, hopes and dreams go with each bottle of Montes Folly.
With the release of the first Montes Alpha wine back in 1988, Montes became one of the first premium wineries of Chile. Their premise, a clear belief that Chile had an untapped potential as a producer of quality wines, made them a benchmark for other wineries to follow. Its original four partners' total involvement and the continuous help of the angels that decorate their labels was key to their success. Two decades later, Montes is the fifth most important winery of Chile where Aurelio Montes continues leading the winemaking area with the same passion as the first day. Hard work and total focus on quality has led Montes to be one of the most successful and respected quality-driven wineries in Chile as they continue pioneering and breaking new grounds in wine.
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Photo of the sun break following morning fog over the vineyards of Veramonte Winery (located in the Casablanca Valley)
Long and thin, Chile has a lot of land north to south. The wine region here is a series of districts based near Santiago. The vineyards are protected by the Pacific on the west and the Andes mountains on the east. This could help explain why the climate changes more from east to west than north to south – also why the country has remained phylloxera free. Quite a few wineries in Chile were founded by large French wine companies. Seeing the potential of the country, vineyards were bought and planted by these French folks and the results tell of a smart investment. Some of these wineries include: Los Vascos, Casa Lapostolle and Cousino Macul.
And while the inspiration may have been French, but the wines here are quite Chilean.
The main regions of Chile include Maipo (pronounced MY-poh), known for reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere; Casablanca Valley, a region producing delicious Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other whites & some
reds; Colchaugua, an inland district creating amazing red wines from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in the Apalta sub-region; and Rapel Valley, settled right under Maipo and producing the same red varietals. A couple of smaller regions to watch include Limari and Elqui, two valleys further north, producing some delicious cool-climate Chardonnay and Bio Bio, an area further south, which is also focused on cool-climate varieties. Chilean wines are growing in exports and more consumers are enjoying the delicious values coming from the country. Red wines of the region, though they cannot be generalized, make the whole gamut of wine quality – quaffable to collectible. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Carmenere are the main players, though Syrah is also making a splash. Some of the best reds are blends of the above varieties. As for whites, Sauvignon Blanc is typically crisp, herbal and racy, while Chardonnay is richer in style with full-bodied texture and tropical fruit flavors.
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
Chile & Argentina are the regions producing the most wine coming out of the continent. The wines from this area are good value with a distinctive taste. They create new world wines with old world character.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.