I am on the virtual road again, this time visiting Viña Ventisquero Winery with seven prime vineyards located throughout many of Chile’s wine regions. Gonzalo Val, President of Agrosuper, one of Chile’s largest agro-industrial companies, owns this winery. Founded in 1998, Ventisquero was first established in the Maipo Valley, which is one of Chile’s most important wine-producing regions. Since then, Ventisquero has expanded and diversified its holdings to include vineyards in Casablanca, Colchagua and Leyda Valleys and the Atacama Desert.
Felipe Tosso, head winemaker, along with winemakers Alejandro Galaz and John Duval make up an adventurous team that endeavors to explore, experiment and make an exception to the rule when producing wine. Their main quest is to preserve and honor the origins, the earth and its fruit.
Some of you might be asking, “What is a single block wine?” A vineyard is usually divided up into blocks/parcels. A single block wine is made from a single variety that is sourced from a single block within a single vineyard.
I asked Felipe Tosso what the motivation was behind making single block wines. He replied, “The main vision for creating single block wines was to add more value to the concept of “origins” and uniqueness of our vineyards. We found in our vineyards certain blocks with unique characteristics. We delimited and isolated these vineyards and created unique wines for our Grey Line, a commitment to terroir and a wine that is outstanding. Our main goal at Ventisquero is always to express the concept of origin and our Grey Single Block line is exactly the expression of Maipo, Colchagua and Atacama.”
Indeed, the talented winemakers of Ventisquero have successfully bottled the Chilean terroir! I recently received four bottles of Ventisquero Grey Line Single Block wines for review. These are expressive wines that capture the essence of the various vineyards and blocks they represent.
Grey Line Single Block Carménère 2017
This 100% Carménère is sourced from Block 5 of the Trinidad Vineyard in the Coastal Maipo Valley. The vineyard has atypical soil, sandy-clay in origin. The wine was aged for 18 months in extra fine-grain French oak barrels and then further aged in the bottle for eight months.
Tantalizing aromas of dark fruit, dark raspberry, spice and earth make their way onto the palate. Notes of plum, black cherry, pepper and a hint of baking spice add to its complexity with lush dark fruit lingering on a long finish. This is an elegant wine that is beautifully balanced with smooth tannins and fresh acidity. Pair with grilled meat, game, hearty stews and seared tuna.
Grey Line Single Block Pinot Noir 2017
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. Grapes are sourced from Block 22 in the Las Terrazas vineyard located only four miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Leyda Valley. The soil here is a combination of granite, red clay and granite rock. A maritime influence contributes to minerality in the wines. It is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.
Subtle floral aromas mix with red berries, sweet spice and sour cherry. The palate offers juicy plum, black raspberry, spice and mineral notes. Excellent acidity and soft tannins make this a very food-friendly wine. Enjoy with seafood, pasta, fowl, salads and cheese.
Grey Line Single Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
This is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc sourced from Block 38 in the Trinidad Vineyard of the Maipo Valley. Cool climate and granite soils contribute to this expressive wine. It was aged for 18 months in extra fine-grain French oak barrels.
Delectable aromas of red fruit, dark berries, spice, earth and a hint of tobacco set the stage for this impressive wine. Intense flavors of red plum, red berries, spice, pepper and a touch of floral add to the character of this wine. It is nicely balanced with silky tannins and good acidity. Serve with aged cheese, grilled meat and hearty stews.
Grey Line Single Block Garnacha Cariñena Mataro (GCM) 2017
Grapes for this wine were sourced from Block 28 in the La Roblería, Vineyard in Apalta sub-region of Colchagua Valley. The vineyard is a short distance from the River Tinguiririca, and benefits from the mesoclimate and stony-sandy, red clay soils. This typical Mediterranean-style blend is 62% Garnacha, 19% Cariñena and 19% Mataro. It is the only red wine blend in the Grey Line. The wine is aged in extra fine-grain French oak barrels for six months, followed by a minimum of one month in the bottle.
Aromas of fresh red fruit, savory notes, strawberry, sour cherry and spice segue onto the palate with plum, red berries, herbs, spice and tobacco. A touch of minerality blends nicely with the acidity and smooth tannins, adding to the wine’s complexity. This wine was not filtered or clarified, so natural sediment may appear over time. Felipe recommends decanting this wine for 30 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy as an aperitif or with aged cheese, grilled meat, chicken, or seared tuna.
I asked Felipe what goals in winemaking he might still be looking to achieve. Felipe said, “This December marks 20 years for me working at Ventisquero, a very important milestone in my career as a Winemaker. Throughout these 20 years, the winery has given me the liberty and the chance to experiment, propose, and create amazing wines. I am quite lucky for that. Having the chance to plant in terroirs so special and different such as the Atacama Desert, for example for TARA Wines, and in the altitudes of Apalta, passing through Maipo Valley, Leyda and Casablanca. Working with one of the most talented winemakers in the world, and my friend, John Duval, has been a great achievement and an amazing adventure for me. I think I have achieved all of my goals as a winemaker. For my years to come, I wish to keep making wines, which reflect our diverse and wonderful Chilean terroir in each and every bottle. My approach to winemaking will always be to reflect the places where these grapes were born.”
Until next time…