The Merlot offers up black fruit aromas such as black cherry and blackberry, all with wonderful freshness on the palate. The Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular from old pre-phylloxera vines, offers up aromas of red fruit (raspberry) and black fruit (blackcurrant, blueberry) with some ripe bell pepper and black olive notes. As it matures it develops pepper, crème de cassis, leather and charred notes (smoke, toast and chocolate). The Carmenère, brightly coloured with hints of purple, is rich with rounded tannins. There are delicate cherry aromas on the nose, subtly balanced out by spicy touches of black pepper. Freshness on the palate ensures a beautiful finish of black fruit, smoke, cocoa, leather and tobacco notes.
Apalta Valley, Colchagua, Chile.
64% Carmenère, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot.
At Clos Apalta, we select harvest dates based on the grape ripeness of each plot and its exposure. Regular tasting is carried out to monitor the development of the fruit, skins and tannins. We therefore began harvesting the first Merlot in La Campana on 10th March and finished on 7th April. The Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested between 18th March and 11th April. Once again, this wide range of harvest dates stems from the fact that we have plantations in the mountain foothills and old pre-phylloxera ‘dry farmed’ Cabernet vines in other terroirs. For Carmenère, our harvests began on the Colibri plot on 12th April. Mid-April rains prompted us to push hard and bring in all the remaining grapes over the following week. Low yields, green pruning such as leaf and crop thinning, and biodynamic practices enabled us to harvest grapes at perfect levels of ripeness and in a perfect state of health.
The 2016 season began with a dry winter (484 mm v 610 mm on average between May and September). The heaviest rainfall was in August, with 239 mm.
Spring was cooler and had more rainfall than normal, in particular from mid-September to mid-November, resulting in “coulure” and “millerandage” (poor fruit set). After fruit set, we noted a fall in yields due to loose, light bunches. Summer was particularly hot and dry. February 2016, and the last ten days in particular, was one of the hottest in recent years, with temperature variations reaching as high as 30°C (37.5°C in the day and 7.7°C at night). Temperatures fell significantly in March with the autumnal equinox, and April brought unusually heavy rainfall (117 mm from the 14th to the 17th).
In short, budding was delayed due to a cold spring and the arrival of El Niño. With delays to flowering and fruit set, the 2016 season saw most phenological stages lagging behind, but a hot summer with excellent conditions helped to produce beautiful grapes.
Find out more with our detailed technical sheet