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Details for Siegel Special Reserve Carmenere

Colchagua Valley
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Colchagua Valley

Chile’s long north-south Central Valley, between the Andes and the Coastal Range, is home to most of its vineyards.  But it is divided by transverse valleys, where rivers originating in the Andes find gaps in the Coastal Range to reach the sea, and these constitute the named wine regions you see on labels.
From north to south they are: Maipo (dryest and hottest, home to the capital Santiago), Rapel (subdivided into Cachapoal to the north, and Colchagua to the south), Curicó and Maule.  All are dry enough to require irrigation, except for parts of Curicó and Maule, and warm enough to make white wines something of a rarity, except close to the coast and the frigid Humboldt Current.
Colchagua is no exception.  Cabernet Sauvignon dominates, as it does in most of Chile, but Carmenère and Merlot are particularly big here, especially on the frequent patches of clay soil, and the valley is recognised as the best place in Chile for these varieties.  This is also Chile’s prime spot for Malbec.  In the ocean-cooled west there are pockets of Chardonnay and even Sauvignon Blanc, but they’re not really what Colchagua is about.
Many of Chile’s most prestigious reds come from here, and new plantings creeping ever further up the valley sides and closer to the Andes are raising the quality level still further.

Siegel Wines

Alberto Siegel was born in Chile’s capital, Santiago, in 1946.  His grandfather, an architect, had emigrated from Germany to Chile in the Thirties, designing several of Santiago’s landmark buildings.  Alberto’s father was a viticulturalist, so Alberto grew up in the vineyards.  Later he studied Agronomy in Santiago and then spent a year working at wineries in Germany before returning to Chile in 1971 and landing a job as a fertiliser salesman for German chemical giant Bayer.
His patch was the Colchagua Valley, 50 miles south of Santiago, where most of the farms grew grapes for wine, so he was soon on first name terms with every grower and wine producer in the region.  He used this network of contacts to become a hugely successful wine and grape broker, selling the production of small owners to the big Chilean wineries.  Not content to remain a middleman, he started to buy up vineyards in Colchagua and built a winery in 1980 to make wines under his own name.
Today Siegel Wines is run by his children, son Alberto and daughter Catalina.  They now have 700 hectares of vineyards on seven different farms, most in Colchagua but also one in the Leyda Valley growing cool climate varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.  From these substantial holdings winemaking team Didier Debona and Fabiola Calderon craft fourteen varietal wines in three ranges, along with three red blends.

about this wine About this wine

This Carmenère is from Siegel’s mid-tier Special Reserve range, and is made entirely from Colchagua Valley fruit.  Widespread frost in the spring of 2014 meant that this was a small vintage, but the grapes that remained benefited from increased complexity and concentration.  After sorting and crushing, they underwent a cold maceration for five days to extract aromas and colours from the skins.
The temperature was then allowed to rise, yeasts were added and the must fermented at 27–29°C for a week in temperature-controlled stainless steel, with daily pumpovers to keep the cap of skins from drying out.  The wine remained in contact with the lees and skins for two weeks after fermentation, before being racked off into tanks where the malolactic fermentation took place.  It was then fined to clarify it and aged for almost a year in French oak barrels.

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