Artisan Terroir Chilean Wine

As recently as the 1980s, producing a great Pinot Noir outside Burgundy was considered by some to be as likely as finding the Holy Grail. However, thanks to winegrowers pushing closer to the edge of the California coast or into the Willamette Valley, we know that carefully-planned vineyards in well-drained, rocky soils and cool climate zones can produce Pinot Noir every bit as sublime and elegant as the Côte d'Or. Now the quest has moved to Chile, where Montsecano is setting a new benchmark for Pinot Noir in South America. Located in the Casablanca region (about 90 km northwest of Santiago), Montsecano is a partnership between Julio Donoso of Chile and André Ostertag of Domaine Ostertag in Alsace. The operation is tiny, comprising just two vineyards on rugged hillsides in a remote corner just 10 km from the Pacific Ocean. Because of the Humboldt Current that runs up from Antarctica, the region features a cool maritime climate that extends the growing season of the early ripening Pinot Noir and blesses the fruit with plenty of bright acidity. Though small, Montsecano is 100% dedicated to crafting Pinot Noirs with minimal intervention so that they are a pure expression of the terroir. The vineyards, planted in soils of red clay and granite, are plowed by horse and farmed biodynamically, which, according to Ostertag, allows the vines to be more receptive to subtle influences in the earth and sky. He believes biodynamy helps the vintner to be more aware of the whole environment in and around the vineyard and to work harder to sustain and make the best of the terroir. The wines are fermented in either concrete eggs or small-capacity, stainless steel Inox tanks and receive no aging in oak barrels. Sulphur is used in “homeopathic doses” – just the minimum required to protect the wines. The winery produces two single-vineyard wines: Refugio, which might be the premier cru as it is a brighter wine for earlier consumption, and Montsecano, which might be the grand cru, as it is a more complex wine made from tiny yields. About Montsecano, Ostertag has written, “Such breathtaking and gut-wrenching beauty shows once again that there is no great wine without a great place. And a great place, above all, is a place whose beauty brings you joy, which then turns inevitably into love. With Montsecano, it is love at first sight.”

Wines from this Winery

2014 Montsecano

2014 Montsecano "Refugio" Pinot Noir

Refugio is Pinot Noir from a hillside vineyard located near Lo Ovalle, which lies slightly to the southwest of the Casablanca wine region. Though the vineyard is smaller than Montsecano (6 vs. 15 acres), its yield is significantly higher (2.5 tons/acre vs. 0.8). The wine is an expression of granitic soil, a cool climate, biodynamic farming and minimalist winemaking. The wine was vinified in a combination of small stainless steel tanks and concrete eggs and was not aged in oak at all. Refugio is a bright, vibrant and refreshing wine that cascades with red fruit and floral aromas and flavors. It will age, but why wait? It’s delicious and drinkable now. 

¥ 3,400
Out of Stock
2013 Montsecano

2013 Montsecano "Montsecano" Pinot Noir

“Montsecano” is the name of the winery’s main vineyard, located at an elevation of about 350 m near Las Dichas, at the northeast corner of Chile’s Casablanca wine region. Coastal breezes and mists provide cool air and enough moisture to mitigate the need to irrigate. Granite soils stress the vines so that yields are a tiny 0.8 tons/acre. Biodynamic farming and a minimalist approach to winemaking result in Pinot Noir with pure fruit, elegance and finesse. The 2013 “Montsecano” is a complex wine with a great concentration of black cherry and raspberry fruit, floral and spice notes and a compelling fresh acidity and crushed rock minerality. Made without any oak aging, it’s a pure expression of the vineyard and its vintage

¥ 5,300