The longest and thinnest country in the world with thousands of miles of south Pacific coastline paralleled between thousands of miles of Andean Mountains with valley's sandwiched in-between, Chile is one of the most unique winegrowing regions in the world.
Given the massive coastline, many of the regions rely on marine influence for the diurnal swing that defines many of the world's best wine growing regions. However, some of Chile's most exciting wine regions (particularly for Bordelaise varieties such as Cabernet, Carmenere and Merlot) are hidden inland, back up against the Andes where lean alluvial soils conspire with altitude-driven temperature swings and higher UV radiation to produce concentrated yet ethereal reds and whites that, at their best, bring freshness, elegance and power in equal parts.
Originally content to play second fiddle to its more celebrated neighbors (Maipo to the north and Colchagua to the south), the warm, inland Cachapoal Valley was content to produce good fruit and pedestrian wines. However, a few French winemaking families recognized that the higher-altitude, eastern reaches of the valley, nestled into the alluvial drainages of the mighty Andes, had tremendous potential leading to a post-Pinochet land grab in the 1990's.
One of the first to recognize the potential of Alto Cachapoal (now known as Alto Totihue) was the iconic Bordeaux producer Chateau Larose Trintaudon, who, in 1994, partnered with small growers in the region and brought their know-how to plant the more challenging 2000-foot
terroir of the Alto Cachapoal and build the Casas del Toqui winery.
In 2010, the Chilean Court family purchased Casas del Toqui and continues to produce wines of profound structure, depth and complexity with a Napa Valley meets Bordeaux sensibility. We've partnered with them to bring you their top of the line offerings and I am confident you will be blown away by these classic, distinctive wines and the tremendous value they represent. You will not find wines of this breed and concentration at this price anywhere else.
Lot 311 is the 2020 Alto Totihue Syrah originally bottled under the top-of-the-line, no-expense-spared, Gran Toqui label. The 2019 bottling was awarded 90-points by the Wine Enthusiast just a week ago and there is no doubt the 2020 is just as good, if not better. There is very little of this wine produced, much less making its way to the USA; in fact, we've secured the entire allocation of 2020 for the US market.
Syrah thrives at altitude and is fantastic in hot dry years like 2020, especially when combined with the low yields that plagued producers. Weighing in right at 14% alc., Lot 311 combines density, concentration, and elegance in a decidedly French package that reminds of a fine Crozes Hermitage crossed with a powerful Burgundian Pinot Noir.
Deep purple, almost opaque, in the glass. The tightly wound and powerfully monolithic nose draws you down into the glass. While the core of oak and black fruit broods, spicy red raspberry, cassis, leather and rock escape the abyss with a kiss of black pepper haloing the bouquet. Medium-complex for now but there is so much more to come. Medium-full-bodied on the palate, it's fleshy and juicy but also surprisingly light and airy with an interesting marriage of ripe plum, oak, pepper and mineral. There's great length and plenty of emerging complexity but clearly this wine is just a baby.
100% Alto Totinhue, Cachapoal Valley Chile
95% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 40% new French oak Bottled July 2021 100 cases available