The intent of TerraNoble is to be recognized as one of the best Carmenere producers, and to develop new products based on this variety.
TerraNoble (http://www.terranoble.cl/) has a Santiago address but sources its wines from many valleys. “We own vineyards located in the best valleys in Chile,” noted Francisco Matte V, Executive Director of TerraNoble. “Where we don’t own vineyards, we have long term agreements in place to source grapes from specific areas that add value to our wines, for example, in the Maipo valley.”
Like other growers in Chile, labor is an issue as they compete with mining and construction (particularly post-the-2011 earthquate!). Frost is an issue in the valley, and capital investment in towers to force cold air up from the ground is heavy; each tower protects 7 hectares.
The winery produces all single vineyard wines, 2 million bottles of them, and like most Chilean wines, the alcohol is low. The day we visited the slopes of the Casablanca Valley, it was a relatively hot day. This, after all, is cool climate winemaking. On March 19, 2012, it was the hottest day of the year so far, and that meant 80 degrees F on average.
|In the tasting room|
|Outlook from new visitor center|
We also tasted our way through their Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc blend and a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon that has a touch of Syrah for additional complexity.
But now for the Carmenere, because, after all, this is where I started to learn to love its chocolately, earthy taste! Gonzalo noted that this is a variety that is relatively new for them, and the first export was done in 1997. We first tasted the Carmenere 2010, which has a deep color, a silky style, soft tannin and a good texture. A bit of acidity – but then acidity in wine is important for a wine you’d drink with food. 13.5% alcohol, and $11.99 USA retail price.
The Carmenere Andes 2010 is a new project for TerraNoble. The vines for this wine were planted in 2008 in the Colchagua Valley, a warm climate foothill region of the Andean range. TerraNoble has worked with the label design to give a sense of a rolling mountain range. 14.3% alcohol, $13 USA retail.
The Carmenere Costa 2010, also sourced from the Colchagua Valley, shows influence from the coastal clime of the vineyards from which it is sourced. It is spicy, with more tannin. 14.2% alcohol.
The Grey Carmenere 2009 sourced its fruit from a single block. It is earthy, herbal, redolent of black fruit, and with a touch of smoke or leathery. 14% alcohol. $20 USA retail. This is my pick of their Carmeneres.
OTHER NEW PROJECTS
Other new projects from TerraNoble are their Lahuen labels.