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Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay 2012
As the technology continues to advance in the vineyards and in the wineries around the world, Cousiño Macul has seized this opportunity and taken a grand leap into the future. Although moving quickly into the future, they take with them the most important part of their long history - their genetic plant material that was originally brought into Chile in 1863. The Cousiño's vineyard and winery in Macul became the proudest achievement of the family. The new vineyard and winery in Buin are now in the hands of the sixth generation.
The Maipo Valley is Chile’s most famous wine region. Set in the country’s Central Valley, it is warm and quite dry, often necessitating the use of irrigation. The soils here tend to be high in salinity and low in potassium, which can present viticultural challenges, but new vineyard management techniques have been implemented to combat these issues.
The climate in Maipo is best-suited for ripe, full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon (the region’s most widely planted grape), Merlot, Syrah, and Carmenère, originally a Bordeaux variety which has found a successful home in Chile. White wines are also produced, especially near the cooler coast, from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.