December 14, 2012 Matetic Vineyards
Matetic Vineyards EQ Syrah
Chile (San Antonio Valley)
Matetic Vineyards EQ Syrah 2008
Dark, dark violet ink. Intense black fruit nose, with liquorice spice notes. On the palate a fresh acidity, a clear fruit concentrate, nicely structured. Full-bodied and full-flavoured. Enlivening the Christmas season. $
Matetic Vineyards dates back only to 1999, with the decision of the Matetic family to expand its business interests in Chile to the production of wine. The San Antonio Valley was the site chosen, about 120 km west of Santiago, specifically its Rosario region. Here the soil and climatic conditions are excellent for the cultivation of grapes. Founder Jorge Matetic put in place a team of professional winemakers and consultants and Matetic Vineyards quickly developed a reputation that placed it among Chile’s top wine producers.
Matetic produces both red and white varieties. For red, syrah predominates. The syrah vineyards are in two near flat sections of the Rosario Valley, with a slight north elevation. They consist of decomposed granite topped by red clay. The climate is temperate mediterranean, strongly influenced by the South Pacific Ocean. It is marked by broad temperature fluctuations, as much as 20 degrees on a given day. The cool nights and moderately hot days are ideal for the ripening grapes.
The ninety hectares under vine are organic, with a leaning towards biodynamic methods. Careful vineyard management limits yields. Harvesting is by hand. The best grapes are destemmed and inspected further so only the most perfectly ripened find their way to the temperature controlled fermentation tanks. The tanks relatively small size allows for more individual attention, and greater precision during the blending process.
There’s a state-of-the-art cellar for the storage and maturing of the wine in oak barrels, fitting rather impressively with the landscape. It’s the major focus of any wine tour. Wine tourism is a major business in Chile and Matetic Vineyards fits the bill perfectly.
All this sounds rather businesslike, contrasting with the centuries-old, multi-generational domaines of Europe, but it is the more likely reality among New World wineries. In this case what it lacks in history it makes up in quality.
Raise a glass. Feliz Navidad.