- There was high pressure for mildew [oidio] thwarted by close attention paid in December
- There was worry that the extreme temps of late February > 35 C would be too much, but the old vines effectively shutdown under these conditions and resisted. (think: botanical shock absorbers).
- The [many] misty mornings of March (fruit cut March 10th – April 10) made us nervous, but in the long run it only led to more hang time.
- We must remember that when old vines drink deep [without irrigation] any given year is the culmination of the 2 Winter rains previous—not just the one previous. Thus part of the concentration of 18 is owed to the very dry 2017. Perhaps some of the purity of 2018 is from a lesser growth of herbs and flowers around the vineyard.
- We think the tannins and tension / balance of 2018 will be a tough act to follow.
What were we doing as a company in 2018?
Proper consolidating of our viticulture team begins.
We made a Cru for the first time:
- Over 12 harvests in Truqui certain cuartels emerged to have distinct personalities
- The Cru we separated is from a small triangular section with less natural yield greater concentration, and a somewhat perhaps darker more brooding personality
- Syrah from across the creek was added to the blend
- Fermented with more stems, there is a kind of buttressing effect to the structure.
What we learned in 2018:
Getting your team to work more cohesively through the year can be more significant than the weather. (1st generation wine wisdom)
When making a wine that is a cut above it is not necessarily necessary to take the cream off the top, nor utilize more oak. Properly executed, it is about separating two wines with distinct personalities from the same vineyard. Each is treated differently to accentuate its distinct personality.
What we learned:
- Truquilemu V. became more ethereal for the separation.
- Cru was born a more sturdy wine with extra stuffing and more tension.
Both are more wine than the two blended previous vintages.
Fieldcraft first release in 2018 [Semillon]
As wine exports from Chile have boomed over the last twenty-five years, it has grown increasingly difficult for small growers to remain a part of the wine business ie to sell their grapes at a bonafide price. Fewer, larger buyers, looking for efficiencies, want more for less and they would have the small modernise: spray instead of cultivate, scale instead of focus, above all reduce the cost of labour. Often, it is in the labour where you find the wisdom of farming passed down through the ages: fieldcraft we came to call it.
After experimenting with Semillon made on skins for a couple of years in 2018 we made a Semillon on skins for commercial release for the first time: Isidore Vineyard. This small vineyard was being neglected for three simple sins: too far from a paved road, too small to fill a truck, and its rows were too narrow for mechanization. Based upon early opinions, we are thrilled with the results and we shall continue to champion such vineyards, full of potential to be unlocked.