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Adolfo Hurtado: One of Chile’s Top 10 Winemakers for the bicentenary

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With the aim of celebrating in the wine industry Chile’s bicentenary (in 2010 our country will commemorate 200 years of being independent), Rafael Prieto, one of the creators of “Guía de Vinos de Chile”, came up with the fantastic idea of producing 10 wines made from the same grape, by Chile’s top 10 winemakers, who would be chosen for their innovative approaches, international contributions, prestige and recognition; Adolfo Hurtado, Cono Sur’s Chief Winemaker and General Manager, is one of them.

All of them would work with the same fruit, with the liberty of adding 30% of other varieties planted in Chile. The chosen variety was Cabernet Sauvignon, and its origin Maipo Valley, due to the tremendous recognition it has had for the quality of its grapes.

The fruit was hand picked between the 20th and 21st of April 2007, a vintage year remembered and qualified as historically amazing, and 4000 kilos of Cabernet Sauvignon were then delivered to each winemaker’s winery. With them, the experts had to later hand in six 220lts barrels with wine ready to be bottled.

Since then, three tastings have taken place: one in October 2007, two years after Prieto’s idea was born, when the wines were still barrel aging, a second one in August 2008, just before bottling, when the blends were finally ready, and a final one just some weeks ago, with the wines all ready to be sold in their “Caja Bicentenario” (Bicentenary Box), a box comprehending all ten bottles, delivering not only the best from Chile’s Maipo Valley, but also the singleness of each winemaker.

Adolfo Hurtado’s Cabernet Sauvignon is very unique. The 30% blend he complemented the Cabernet Sauvignon with consists of 11% Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto, also in the Maipo Valley, 8% Syrah from San José, same valley as the Cabernet, 7% Carmenere from Peumo in Cachapoal Valley and 4% Malbec from Peralillo, Colchagua Valley. “It was truly a great idea”, says Hurtado. “For me it has really meant a great joy to be part of this initiative, mainly because it’s a tribute to our bicentenary from the world of wine. What encouraged me most is the fact that all ten winemakers would work with the same fruit to produce the wines, with the liberty of choosing the other 30%, in order to transmit our unique personalities to each bottle.  I had the opportunity to taste the grapes and found them very juicy and concentrated. It has now been approximately one month since our last tasting and I have to say that it’s amazing how each wine is very different from the other. All of them have, in fact, achieved an extraordinary level.” When asked about his selection of varieties he referred that “using a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto contributed pepper and more concentration through tannins from old vines. Syrah magnified the wine’s colour, black fruits and spices. Carmenere from Peumo provided plum, liquorice and blackberry, and finally Malbec from Peralillo contributed even more juiciness. I am very happy with the results: the wine is dark red, red fruit notes mingle in very well with the elegance given by the time spent in barrels. It’s a very concentrated wine, with tender tannins, plenty of juiciness and freshness.”

The official launch of these top winemakers’ selection for the bicentenary will take place on the 10th of November at “Club de la Unión” in Santiago.