Clos Apalta 1999
Aroma: The bouquet provides an explosion of red fruit, blackberry, black cherry and vibrant notes of raspeberry. The oak aging contributes a toasted vanilla and balsamic-like element in the nose. Then, instead of dispersing, all the scents blend together to give greater complexity, precious wood and cedar notes.
Flavor: In the mouth, the first impression is density and volume. The wine is round, full and very concentrated. Slowly, a gentle tannic structure appears which provides the wine with a solid and well-structured character. The finish is long, velvety and silky.
"Once again, arguably the best wine in Chile is this beauty from what may eventually become recognized as a world-class site for red wines—the dry-farmed, old-vines Apalta Vineyard. Fermentation involving big wood vats and the utmost in human attention yields a pure, stately wine that's equal parts power and finesse. Blendwise, it's mostly Merlot, and the flavors are all about kirsch, plum liqueur and chocolate. Give it several years to fully blossom."
-Wine Enthusiast Top 100
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Everything starts in 1994 when Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet first arrived in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. They quickly realized its potential for producing world-class wines. This ideal setting, which was revitalized in 1995, was home to vines originating from pre-phylloxera rootstock brought from Bordeaux in the middle of XIX century. Member of a renowned family that has been dedicated for several generations to the production of high-quality spirits and wines, Alexandra with legendary wine expertise, brought exceptional French winemaking practices to Chile and pioneered the development of fine quality wines from the region. Today it is Charles de Bournet Marnier Lapostolle, seventh generation of the family, who holds the reins of the Winery. Together with him is Jacques Begarie, Technical Director & Winemaker, under the advice of the famous winemaker Michel Rolland, who is personally involved in the whole production of Clos Apalta. In its short history, Clos Apalta wines have consistently ranked highly (90+ points) among reputable wine trade publications, a testament of the rigorous standards implemented at the winery to produce outstanding wines. Clos Apalta's philosophy is as simple as it is ambitious: to express terrois in the wines, looking for excellence, elegance and character in a handcrafted wine that can talk about the amazing place that is the Apalta Valley.
One of South America’s most important wine-producing countries, Chile is a reliable source of both budget-friendly wines and premium bottlings. Spanish settlers, Juan Jufre and Diego Garcia de Cáceres, most likely brought Vitis vinifera (Europe’s wine producing vine species) to the Central Valley of Chile some time in the 1550s. But Chile’s modern wine industry is largely the result of heavy investment from the 1990s.
Long and narrow, Chile is geographically isolated, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders allowed Chile to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation in the late 1800s and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted (as is the case in much of the wine producing world).
Chile’s vineyards vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt Current. While historically focused solely on Pisco production, today this area finds success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.