Montes Alpha

Colchagua Valley, colchagua valley Chile

Adding the Montes wines to our portfolio in 2015 was the realisation of a long-held ambition, after many years of admiring what Aurelio Montes was achieving in Chile. Taste the wines and find out why we feel that way. The Sauvignon Blancs are lifted and fresh, their varietal character derived from growing the grapes in the right place and picking them when they are ripe and not, as many in Chile seem to do, by picking them green in order to ensure an herbaceous character which displays what they think is the mark of the variety. The Merlots, Malbecs and Cabernets have lovely colour, intensity and definition, and supple tannins. This is rare in Chile.

So how do they do it? Not surprisingly, in the vineyard. They learned, when they started producing Montes Alpha in 1987, that they needed balanced yields and to harvest when the grapes were ripe. They adapted these practices to all their vineyards and the results are startling. Montes' own vineyards cover 75% of their requirements. The other 25% of fruit is produced on vineyards they have planted, cultivated and picked. In other words, they control everything except the ownership of the land. In addition to this control over the vineyard, they also sell in bulk what is not good enough to go into the bottles that carry their label. Having made the selection in the vineyard, they are able to make a further selection in the winery. The results are there for you to taste.

'Purple Angel', 'Folly', Alpha 'M' and 'Taita' are the pinnacle of Montes' premium winemaking. All four are highly sought after, each an example of the very best wine the country can produce.

Montes Alpha

The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, first produced in 1987, broke the mould for premium wines in Chile. It was a modern expression of a classic grape which illustrated that Chile could produce wines that stood shoulder to shoulder with what their competitors around the world were making. Since then, Alpha has gone from being a single wine to being the core range in the Montes portfolio. The grapes and sites are carefully selected each year in order to ensure varietal integrity and complexity. Viticulture is hands-on and individual rather than mechanical and industrial. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system, developed by Aurelio and his team, which allows for extremely precise and minimal irrigation, reducing their water footprint by 65%. This approach reduced yields and resulted in smaller bunches and berries, which in turn resulted in wines with deeper colour and more depth, flavour and structure.

The result is a range of wines that offer superb value within the premium wine market - whether from Chile or anywhere else. The Alpha Chardonnay is ripe and melony, while the Pinot Noir, from grapes grown close to the coast rather than inland (near where Seña is made), is fragrant and supple, a classic expression of cool climate Pinot. The fuller reds, which need greater ripeness, are all from Colchagua, an area that Aurelio Montes has long pioneered. The Merlot is ripe and fleshy, while the Cabernet is full yet refined. The Carmenère has plenty of tobacco and supple and grainy tannins, while the Malbec is a superb example of this variety from Chile. The Montes Brut is a traditional method sparkling wine of outstanding value, made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and shows elegant aromatics of ripe citrus fruit, blossom and toast alongside a creamy yet crisp finish. The Late Harvest Gewürztraminer has pronounced aromas of honey, apricot and lychee and the richness on the palate is beautifully balanced by refreshing acidity.

 

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