De Martino, Old Vine Series, Las Cruces, Malbec & Carmenere, D.O Valle Del Cachapoal, Chile, 2017

£29.00

Pietro de Martino touched down in Chile from Italy in 1934 and immediately decided he wanted to create a winery simply due to the wonderful, Mediterranean climate that he had arrived in. Over the next few decades, he went on to establish the estate as one of the finest in the country and also one which experimented and pushed boundaries.

This wine is a blend of 75% Malbec and 25% Carmenere (incidentally, the winery was the first to label and export Carmenere from Chile in 1996, and since then the variety has really cracked on in terms of global sales, so well done them). The vines used in this wine were planted in 1957 and are the original root stocks (no grafting).

The De Martinos actually own vineyards that date back to 200 years old so this is quite young, relatively speaking. The region itself is a mountainous yet coastal region, with the aforementioned Mediterranean climate. Whilst the days are warm, the cooling sea breezes don’t allow the temperatures to go any higher than 30 degrees which means that the growing seasons are relatively consistent, which in turn creates a wine that, bar the odd little fluctuation, is consistent vintage on vintage.

The grapes are hand harvested and then aged for 24 months in Austrian foudres (a big barrel, basically) and then bottled. Only 3511 bottles and 60 magnums were made in this vintage. That is the dictionary definition of “rare as chicken lips”.

Nose

Vibrant red fruit, raspberry and sour cherry. Vanilla oak, sweet tobacco, espresso, smoke and leather. Touch of cocoa and pepper.

Palate

All of the above. Hint of liquorice. Great acidity and fine tannins, real finesse and elegance about it. Top length.