Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Los Vascos wines blend Lafite tradition with the unique terroir of Chile to create elegant wines that bring exceptional to the everyday. The vision of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) to expand their estates took them to South America in 1988, becoming the first French viticultural investment in modern Chile. Since then, a comprehensive modernization and investment program has been undertaken, oriented towards the production of fine wine using and adapting the viticultural experiences of Bordeaux and other areas where Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) is present.
Los Vascos is located in Valley de Caneten (Colchagua), a closed valley in the central zone of Chile, approximately 25 miles from the sea. The valley provides a perfect microclimate for high quality viticulture, with Northern exposure to lands uncontaminated by airborne or water-borne pollutants. Daily on-shore winds provide temperature changes between 68-77°F, for optimum maturation of the grapes. With 1581 acres, it is one of the largest vineyards in the central Colchagua valley, at the foot of Mount Cañeten.
Between 1989 and 1995 Winemaker Marcelo Gallardo studied at Universidad Austral de Chile graduating with a degree in Agronomy engineering. Marcelo continued his education studying and graduating from Universidad de Chile between 1998 and 1999 with a degree in Enology and Viticulture in Santiago. In 1999, Marcelo worked as an assistant winemaker at Viña Santa Rita in the Maipo Valley, and interned at Bodega Sandeman, Oporto-Duero in Portugal. After Portugal he performed a harvest at Domain Jandeau in Burgundy, France. Working for Viña Los Vascos since 2000, he became the Chief Winemaker and Production Manager in 2006. Marcelo routinely visits the other Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) properties to bring L’Esprit Lafite to Viña Los Vascos. In addition, he collaborates on the latest developments in technology from top Universities and vineyards.
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.