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Organic vineyard in Chile


World Chile

Organic vineyards in Chile

Hundred-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon

200 km in the South of Santiago, near the city of Curico, the Spanish Torres family owns one of the oldest vines in the world. They produce an icon wine, the Manso de Velasco,
a pure, spicy, and highly concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon.

Since their childhood, the parents of the oldest workers of the vineyard of Torres see very old the vine stocks of the farm San Francisco Nortevery, a few kilometers from the village of Lontue in the Central Valley. It is more­over the only reference which allows giving an age to the ten hectares that Spanish Miguel Torres has discovered, stunned, in 1984. These stocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, as wide as the hand, producing tiny very sweet berries, would be more than 110 years old! A treasure that has survived thanks to the absence of phylloxera in Chile.

Vignoble Miguel Torres
Panamericana Sur Km. 195
Curico - Chile
Tél. : +33 56 75 564 100
Fax: +33 56 75 564 115

Immediately, the heir of “Bodegas Torres”, a wine reference in Catalonia since 1870, decides to make a wine from these hundred-year-old vines only. Of thenever seen in a country which at that time still produces a mediocre wine and will really start to export only in the 90s. But for Miguel Torres, it is just one more innovation. This pioneer is the first foreign winegrower to have settled down in Chile, in 1979. He is also the one who introduced aluminum tanks there …
Until 1995, the Manso de Velasco, named after the famous Governor of Chile in the 18th century, is little concentrated, it tends more towards the freshness and delicacy. But from 1996, the oenologists change their position: this slightly rustic and wild Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in oak barrels of Nevers, becomes a more mature wine. Thanks to its acidity, it can age, a rare feature in Chile. And if its taste is different every year, it still maintains its high alcohol content (14°) and its excellent value for money.
As the 445 hectares of the Chilean vineyard Miguel Torres, which annually produces 4.5 million litres, the century-old vines are organic. The harvest is hand-made, in 20kg crates to prevent damage to the grape, and the produc­tion does not exceed 50,000 bottles. As these old vines are fragile, in order to preserve their genetic heritage, some branches are buried in winter. Within two years, young plants appear. The picking is done separately but after ageing in oak barrels for a year and a half, the oenologists sometimes choose to mix the young with the centenarian.

Claire Martin