Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol Red 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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 Arucxano 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.
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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.