Viñedo Chad­wick 2000

Alto Maipo, Chile

Decanter - - WINE LEGENDS -

a leg­end be­cause…

Although the Chad­wick vine­yard close to the Maipo River was only planted in 1992, the wine was an im­me­di­ate suc­cess from its first vin­tage (1999) on­wards. Sub­se­quent vin­tages re­ceived Robert Parker’s high­est scores for a Chilean Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon for a num­ber of years, en­sur­ing in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion. In 2004, Ed­uardo Chad­wick, the sixth gen­er­a­tion of his fam­ily to run Viña Er­razuriz, staged a blind tast­ing in Ber­lin of 16 Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style wines, in­clud­ing 2000 vin­tage Château Lafite and other top-scor­ing first growths – but it was this wine that re­ceived the high­est av­er­age score. Since then Viñedo Chad­wick’s rep­u­ta­tion has been as­sured.

Look­ing back

Ed­uardo Chad­wick wanted to hon­our his fa­ther Al­fonso with a top-qual­ity wine orig­i­nat­ing on the fam­ily’s home es­tate in Alto Maipo. The vines for Viñedo Chad­wick were planted on Al­fonso’s for­mer polo ground, where he had trained daily to be­come Chile’s cham­pion at the sport.

The vin­tage

Af­ter a wet win­ter, the spring was cool and the sum­mer months de­liv­ered mod­er­ate temperatures. More cool weather in the au­tumn slowed ripen­ing, re­sult­ing in a late har­vest of bal­anced grapes with in­tense flavours. Green-har­vest­ing en­sured yields were re­duced to a level that main­tained fruit con­cen­tra­tion and ma­tu­rity.

The ter­roir

The 15ha vine­yard was planted at a height of 650m in Puento Alto in the Alto Maipo val­ley, right next to one of the blocks used to pro­duce an­other of Chile’s out­stand­ing red wines, Al­ma­viva. The soil is largely gravel, with a top layer of clay and loam over a stony sub­soil that en­sures ex­cel­lent drainage. The vines are planted to a den­sity of 4,160 vines/ha. Nights are cool, and morn­ing breezes drift down the slopes of the An­des, mod­er­at­ing the day­time heat.

The wine

Vini­fi­ca­tion varies from par­cel to par­cel, but there is a clear nod to top-tier Bordeaux. The grapes are lightly crushed then destemmed. Mac­er­a­tion can take up to 25 days, with the fre­quency and du­ra­tion of pumpov­ers adapted to the char­ac­ter of each lot, and the wine is aged for 17 months in new bar­riques with reg­u­lar rack­ing. The fi­nal blend is as­sem­bled to­wards the end of the age­ing process, with no fin­ing but a light fil­tra­tion be­fore bot­tling.

The re­ac­tion

Stephen Brook ap­praised the wine soon af­ter bot­tling: ‘Rich, smoky, leath­ery nose. Very rich, plump and con­cen­trated, op­u­lent and spicy, a com­plex if some­what broad wine, with good acid­ity and length.’ In 2012, Neal Martin wrote: ‘Has a ripe, sump­tu­ous bou­quet with for­ward black cher­ries, burnt toast and kirsch aro­mas that of­fer dried rose petal notes with time... a lit­tle coarse and rus­tic to­wards the savoury fin­ish, although it dis­plays ad­mirable length.’ In the same year, Jan­cis Robin­son MW noted: ‘Fully evolved but very clean and fresh... the fruit is just start­ing to fade and the al­co­hol in­sists just slightly, but it’s a very un­forced wine.’ James Suck­ling judged: ‘A round and savoury red with cho­co­late, plums and hazel­nut. Hints of rose petal and to­bacco too. Full body plus round and soft tan­nins. At­trac­tive mouth­feel.’

In 2015, Jean­nie Cho Lee MW wrote: ‘A beau­ti­ful ex­pres­sion of Caber­net fruit – lay­ers of cas­sis, cedar and to­bacco with sup­ple tan­nins... tightly knit and a bit re­served but opens up with time in the glass.’ Steven Spurrier, long a fan of this wine, recorded in 2016: ‘Still a won­der­ful nose with hints of rose petal and se­duc­tively aro­matic. Ex­tra­or­di­nary warmth and depth from just eight-year-old vines, al­most “south­ern” rich­ness with the spice but the firm­ness of Caber­net quite ev­i­dent.’

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