Chile, one of the great wine regions of the new world produces beautiful and delicious wines. My team was recently invited to meet with Valdivieso winemaker Brett Jackson and to learn more about their wines. Jai gives a beautiful story on the wines. Happy #WineWednesday. Enjoy.
"Walking into Iron Gate takes your breath away as wrought iron, dark wood, and soft lighting greets diners as they arrive. Yet on this particular day, a select group met with Valdivieso winemaker Brett Jackson.
You may well be aware that Chile is well-known for their sparkling wines. However, it is their still wines that Valdivieso is hoping to bring more attention to.
From the age of sixteen, Brett Jackson has immersed himself in the wine industry beginning his career at Stoneyridge Vineyard in Waiheke, New Zealand. Under Stephen White’s tutelage, Brett showed promise and continued to develop his skills working in wineries located in Napa Valley, CA, South Africa, as well as France.
However, with less than 300 wineries in Chile, Jackson soon found himself at Valdivieso Vineyards where he has been for the last 16 years. As we sampled seven different wines, his knowledgeable palate became our guide.
Commencing with the Blanc de Blancs NV, small bubbles infused the light amber colored liquid as fruity notes of apple and a hint of peach was present. Made of one hundred percent Chardonnay grapes, instead of pairing it with seafood, we chose a Halloumi cheese with capers.
Two wines from the Single Vineyard Collection made an appearance, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Chardonnay. Both wild fermented wines were produced in 2013 within the Leyda Valley recognized for its maritime terroir. The Sauvignon Blanc opened over time, becoming richer as it warmed. Though not highly acidic as expected, it cut through the ricotta gnocchi and spicy pork sausage ragu.
Recommendations to enjoy the Chardonnay as it ages were followed as our bottle had four years to develop its soft mineral taste compounded by citrus and fruity notes. Advised to be paired with herbs, a vegetarian approach was taken with a plate of heirloom beets, black walnut, dill, and house yogurt to emphasize the balancing acidity.
As we took a moment to cleanse our palates, we learned more about the Valdivieso brand which started in 1879 by Don Alberto Valdivieso. In the mid-1900’s the Mitjans took over the vineyard and are still at its helm today.
Each person was left to choose their own lunch. A colleague and I decided to share the bison hanger steak with charred broccoli, chestnuts, and green peppercorns. An excellent choice as the reds were magnificent.
Translated as “crazy horse,” the Caballo Loco brand only identifies itself by an edition number.; not by vintage, nor terroir. Yet each year a part of the batch is saved for future blends. Tasting number 16, its blend included Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, and Carmenere with 50% coming from 2011 and 50% from 2010. The Grand Cru Apalta 2013 also a Caballo Loco label was also a blend; 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Carmenere. As its grapes come from the warm temperatures of the Colchagua Valley it alloted for bright, red coloring; in addition to, soft spicy notes.
As lunch came to an end, Brett brought out a treat…a bottle of Eclat 2010. A part of the Vigno group compiled of less than 15 members, the label is known for its old vine blends. With the fruit being at least 35 years old and the vines 60, its flavors explode in your mouth. A wine that can be cellared for up to eight years, it paired extremely well with the bison hanger steak.
When asked what he hopes to accomplish as he continues with Valdivieso Mr. Jackson simply stated, “To always keep evolving as drinking Chilean wine is a sensory experience.” We couldn’t agree more as the future of Valdivieso still wines looks bright.
Photography: Jai Williams Photography