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Alcohuaz Grus 2014

Alcohuaz Grus 2014

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"The 2014 Grus is the first wine to be released from this Elqui project lead by De Martino's winemaker Marcelo Retamal. It's produced as a Syrah-based blend with 36% Garnacha, 13% Malbec and a 1% pinch of Petite Sirah. The destemmed grapes fermented in open granite and stone lagers during some 11 days, and were foot-trodden daily, being careful to do a light extraction. This wine does not see any oak; it is kept one year in egg-shaped cement vats. One of the characteristics of the fruit in this part of Elqui is high acidity, in the peaches, in the damsons, oranges, lemons... and in the grapes too. The nose is clean and vibrant, with a special brightness, notes of wild berries and flowers. It's vibrant and vertical, with great acidity and that cold sensation of the granite soils. This is very drinkable, tasty, ideal for food. If you like young and fresh wines, this is clearly for you, but it also has the ingredients to be able to age in bottle. In future vintages they might add Cariñena from their higher altitude plot at some 2,200 meters to the blend. 9,733 bottles were filled in March 2015. Drink: 2016-2019. 92 points

Viñedos de Alcohuaz is a new project in Elqui. They are releasing their first wines at the end of 2015, some 12,500 bottles, and hope to reach a maximum of 120,000 bottles around 2030. They have 18 hectares of organically farmed vineyards and for now sell some grapes. They want to produce the best wine they can, but a wine that represents the place -- a really wild part of the valley where their vineyards are located at high altitude, between 1,650 and 2,200 meters altitude, possibly the highest altitude project in Chile. The wines are produced by De Martino's winemaker Marcelo Retamal, who is also part owner. Vinification is simple, but they do not spare expenses to buy the best Nomblot eggs and untoasted 2,500-liter Stockinger oak foudres. I visited the vineyards, which are in a very wild place, a little extreme, with very clear skies, cold nights and warm days. The hills are sharp, somehow rustic, basically a deserted zone, as annual rainfall is around 90 liters, and the wines reflect the wilderness of the place."

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (222)