Hacienda Araucano Alka Carmenere 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Alka typically delivers size and oak, and this vintage shows a thick coating of oak on top of herbal cassis and blackberry scents. A concentrated, lively palate is bright in acidity, while oaky, savory flavors of balsamic berry fruits and chocolate finish baked, spicy, bold and chewy. Drink through 2023.
Jacques y Francois Lurton S.A. was created in 1988 by two brothers, sons of Andre Lurton, the famous winemaker of Bordeaux (Chateaux Bonnet, La Louviere, Dauzac...).
Beginning with the concept that it is possible to create world-class wines, within regions of great quality potential, they began several projects Andmdash; first in France, then in Argentina and Spain. In 1997, after years of investigation, they founded the JFL Chile partnership, Hacienda Araucano, within the Lolol area of the Colchagua Valley, a zone that offers great potential for the production of red wine. Situated on a foothill, the soils have excellent drainage and at the same time have the capacity to retain the proper amount of moisture. These qualities in turn give the vines deep roots and the ability for natural water feeding, therefore avoiding the necessity of irrigation.
The wines produced are vinified from grapes produced on the estate and as well as grapes bought from viticulturists, who sign specific contracts for high quality production under strict vineyard management from the Lurton viticultural team. All of the red wines (with the exception of Araucano Pinot Noir) are produced from grapes from the Colchagua Valley, while some of the white wine is sourced from grapes from the Casablanca Valley, known for having a great microclimate for the production of white wine grapes.
In 2008, the Araucano has moved to organic methods for both the estate as well as those growers whom they supervise. In 2012, all the wines under Hacienda Araucano will be certified 'made with organically grown grapes". Additionally, many biodynamic principals are being applied by the estate which further enhance the natural environment and wine quality.
Dramatic geographic and climatic changes from west to east make Chile an exciting frontier for wines of all styles. Chile’s entire western border is Pacific coastline, its center is composed of warm valleys and on its eastern border, are the soaring Andes Mountains.
Chile’s central valleys, sheltered by the costal ranges, and in some parts climbing the eastern slopes of the Andes, remain relatively warm and dry. The conditions are ideal for producing concentrated, full-bodied, aromatic reds rich in black and red fruits. The eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry—is home to intense red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
Chilly breezes from the Antarctic Humboldt Current allow the coastal regions of Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley to focus on the cool climate loving varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Chile’s Coquimbo region in the far north, containing the Elqui and Limari Valleys, historically focused solely on Pisco production. But here the minimal rainfall, intense sunlight and chilly ocean breezes allow success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata in the south make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
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 sometime in the 1550s. One fun fact about Chile is that its natural geographical borders have allowed it to avoid phylloxera and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted.
Dark, full-bodied and herbaceous with a spicy kick, Carménère found great success with its move to Chile in the mid-19th century. However, the variety went a bit undercover until 1994 when many plantings previously thought to be Merlot, were profiled as Carménère. Somm Secret— Carménère is both a progeny and a great-grandchild of the similarly flavored Cabernet Franc.