94 points – Tim Atkin. This exceptional wine from Vina Ventisquero is part of their Tara Atacama project to produce fine wines from the most extreme wine region in the world, the Atacama, Chile. One of the driest regions of the world, many obstacles have been overcome by the team, and the results are a range of wines with beautiful purity of fruit & striking minerality. Exceedingly low volumes of each vintage are produced by entirely artisanal processes. The grapes are harvested 100% by hand, and in the Chardonnay’s case, foot-crushed. They have no filtration, use native yeasts only with no addition of bacteria for malolactic fermentation and apply just a small dose of SO2 post fermentation. These methods, Winemaker Galaz believes, give the wines ‘the freedom to express their extreme origin’.
24 months ageing in 5th use French, Burgundy style oak barrels, the wine was neither clarified or received a final filtration.
This is a deep ruby-red wine which reveals a mix of black fruits, herbs and graphite. This is a very particular and complex blend. The Syrah contributes freshness, wild herbs, spices and firm tannins, while the Merlot provides fruit aromas and flavours, soft tannins and velvety body. In the mouth, this medium-bodied wine displays delicious acidity, which lends interesting tension to the wine, as well as firm tannins. Very long in the finish. The calcareous soil of the second terrace of the River Huasco gives its characteristics to this very special wine. This is a completely unique and atypical wine, representing the chalky soil and climate of the coastal desert.
About the Producer
Viña Ventisquero and their trio of avant-garde winemakers Alejandro Galaz, Felipe Tosso and Sergio Hormazabal who, accepted the somewhat sizeable challenge back in 2007, are on a mission to bring the ‘extreme’ wines of Chile’s unchartered Atacama Desert to the top of the world stage.
Making wine in Chile’s most northerly vineyards, and in one of the driest regions on earth, was never going to be easy. Situated 22km from the Pacific Ocean coast, and over 350km north of Santiago, vineyards experience warm days (averaging 24oC during the ripening season), cold nights and foggy mornings.
Soils suffer from extreme salinity, are difficult to irrigate and the general hostility of the environment causes several and severe problems both for vineyard growth and wine production.
Named after the Tara salt flat in northern Chile, in the world’s driest desert, the immense Atacama, where just 20mm of rain fall each year, these wines are a triumph of determination. The area is influenced by the nearby Pacific Ocean and every morning the land is blanketed by the coastal fog known as the Camanchaca, which offers a brief respite to the sun-baked landscapes of Northern Chile. With this unique geography and in the absence of coastal mountains, the winds blow directly from the ocean to the vineyard, transforming the otherwise desert climate into a cool, quasi-Mediterranean climate.
Wine Press / Awards
94 points – Tim Atkin
93 points – Decanter & Descorchados
92 points - James Suckling
91 points - Robert Parker