La Playa Axel Red Blend 2014
A rich maroon color. On the nose, ripe strawberry with hints of black pepper. It has great balance between structure and flavor with a light approachable palate.
By 1989, he had realized his dream, founding Viña La Playa alongside his sons Peter and Eric. Viña La Playa of Chile is a partnership between the Axelsens and two promient Chilean winemaking legends: the Sutil and Errázuriz families. The winery encompasses 597 acres of prime property in the Colchagua Valley, where its vineyards enjoy a unique microclimate that fosters the growth of premium wine grapes.
With near-perfect growing conditions, Colchagua Valley has been described as "The Next Napa" (Wine Enthusiast, March 2002) as "arguably Chile's premier opportunity for world-class wine production" (Wine Spectator, April 30, 2002), and as "2005 Wine Region of the Year," yeilding "some of the most compelling wines in the world" (Wine Enthusiast, 2005).
Part of the Coquimbo region and a key location for pisco production, the Limari Valley is one of the northern most wine producing regions of Chile. The other two, also part of Coquimbo, are the Elqui and less-developed Choapa Valleys. While more vineyard area is dedicated to pisco production (via the grapes of Muscat of Alexandria, Pedro Jimenez, Moscatel de Asturia and Torontel), the acreage under vine for still wine production has increased. The intense sunlight in the Limari Valley, coupled with little rainfall as well as the cooling effect of the Humboldt Current from the Pacifc Ocean, all make the area ideal for cool climate grapes like 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.