Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot 2009
Blend: 85% Merlot, 15% Carmenere
Domaines Bournet-Lapostolle (DBL) is one of Chile’s most dynamic and influential winemakers. The Lapostolle family began producing fine wine and spirits in France in 1827. In 1994, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, sixth generation family member, and her husband Cyril de Bournet, were one of the first to see the potential of Apalta Valley’s terroirs in Chile for producing high quality red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Merlot. In 2005, DBL’s icon wine Clos Apalta made history by becoming the first and only South American wine to date to ever be ranked #1 of the famous Top100 of Wine Spectator. Alexandra and Cyril were joined by their son, Charles de Bournet, in their simple as ambitious goal: to create world-class wines using French winemaking philosophy and the superb terroirs of Apalta. Charles has done extensive work in introducing Syrah and Rose varietals, such as Cinsault and Grenache, terroirs analysis, and sustainable practices throughout Apalta. World renowned winemaker, Michel Rolland, has been consulting at DBL since the beginning and works with Charles to produce wines that express the family’s taste and the unique terroirs of Apalta.
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.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.