Odfjell Aliara 2010
Blend: 32% Carignan,22% Syrah, 26% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Family-owned and inspired by the Vikings’ spirit of exploration, Odfjell Vineyards makes wines that are a true expression of its terroir and capture the best of Chile’s Maipo Valley. 100% organic and biodynamic wines, an architecturally stunning gravity-flow winery, and gentle Norwegian fjord horses are signature elements of Odfjell.
A spirit of seafaring adventure and a love for the natural beauty of Chile drew Norwegian ship owner Dan Odjfell to the Maipo Valley, where he planted his first vineyards in 1994. Today Odfjell has 275 acres in the Maipo, Lontué and Cauquenes Valleys, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carménère, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and old-vine Carignan.
Since 2012 all of Odfjell’s vineyards have been organic and biodynamic with annual certifications. In addition to a wide range of biodynamic farming practices, the winery is home to Norwegian fjord horses, brought to Chile by Dan Odfjell. The horses control weeds, provide better soil drainage, and transport grapes during harvest without compacting the soil, and are used for pediatric hippotherapy.
Odjfell honors its seafaring past with three wine styles, all crafted by long-time winemaker Arnaud Hereu, who was born and educated in Bordeaux. Armador is the Spanish word for ‘ship owner’ and is the name of its original line of wines. Orazada means ‘sailing into the winds’ and showcases specific old vines in Odfjell’s estate vineyards. Finally, Aliara is the Spanish name for the small tin cup used to dole out alcohol rations on sailing ships, and these are fittingly the most limited production wines from Odfjell.
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 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.