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Errazuriz Chardonnay Max Reserva 2013 750ml

Rated 93 - This is dense and intense with dried apple, light vanilla and stone character. Full body, bright acidity and a long finish. About 60%...

2013 Casablanca Valley Chardonnay

Chile has become a fascinating country for wine. While much of Chile is associated with rich red wines, made primarily from Merlot, Casablanca Valley is going to great lengths to prove to the world how flexible and varied the terroir of this Latin American country can be. In Casablanca Valley, you’ll find many of the big name grape varietals, including the country’s classic Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, but also a strong focus on aromatic varietals, including Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Riesling. All of these thrive in the favorable climatic conditions and mineral-rich sandy soils the valley offers, and result in a beautiful set of wines which blur the line between the old world and the new.

Casablanca Valley is situated sixty miles northwest of the country’s capital, Santiago, and as far as wine regions go, it’s a very young one. The first vines of this region were planted in the 1980s, in an experimental move that wanted to make the most of the long, warm summer days which were tempered by winds and fog coming off the nearby Pacific Ocean. The relatively cool climate results in grapes which are remarkably balanced, making wines which are highly sophisticated and complex, and full of the finest features of their unique terroir.

Of all the white wine grape varietals, surely the one which has spread the furthest and is most widely appreciated is the Chardonnay. This green skinned grape is now grown all over the Old and New Worlds, from New Zealand to the Americas, from England to Chile, and is one of the first varietals people think of when considering white wine grapes. Perhaps this is because of its huge popularity which reached a peak in the 1990s, thanks to new technologies combining with traditional methods to bring the very best features out of the Chardonnay grape, and allow its unique qualities to shine through. Most fine Chardonnay wines use a process known as malolactic fermentation, wherein the malic acids in the grape juice are converted to lactic acids, allowing a creamier, buttery nature to come forward in the wine. No grape varietal is better suited to this process than Chardonnay, which manages to balance these silky, creamy notes with fresh white fruit flavors beautifully.