Posted by Álvaro Espinoza
Hello friends, I am just starting to participate in the blogs about the 2009 Southern Hemisphere harvest. Sorry for the lateness of the first report, but since I'm a consulting winemaker who works in different regions in Chile, it's a very busy time for me, with a lot of travel. Better late than never, as they say …
To describe the quality of the growing season in general, we had a warm and dry summer, with very healthy conditions. The yields were a little high, so at veraison (when the grapes start to change color) we had to do a lot of work on a green harvest to get the right amount of grapes per vine, especially in the red varieties that were a little high-yielding.
The summer brought high temperatures, especially in the last days of February and March, when it reached around 34º C (about 93º F)—that's unusual for our climate! With these conditions, ripening came fast. In the Central Valley (you may be familiar with its districts such as Maipo, Maule and Colchagua valleys), we started the harvest of our Sauvignon Blancs during the last week of February.
The coastal region, which normally has cooler temperatures, has also had an increase in temperatures. We started harvesting our Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca Valley on March 9, and we started the Sauvignon from Leyda Valley this past week. In the northern region of Elquí that I visited a week ago Friday, we have already crushed the Sauvignon Blancs and the Chardonnay, which are in tank and tasting fruity, with a lot of character.
About other varieties, we have been harvesting Chardonnay in the Central Valley over the past two weeks. We began harvesting our organic Chardonnay from Maipo this past week and expect to start the coastal Chardonnay. The Pinot Noir from the coastal region is looking beautiful, with nice flavors and soft tannins; we're getting ready to start picking.
Now we are having nice conditions for the vintage, without rains and with warm and dry weather, maybe a little too warm. But we feel that the conditions are changing, and the temperature is getting a little fresher, which will be very good for the ripeness of the reds.
Regards and I will write again soon,
Jason Kozar — March 25, 2009 9:49pm ET
Julio Lasmartres — Mendoza — March 27, 2009 10:59am ET
Maximiliano Morales — Santiago, Chile — April 2, 2009 11:48pm ET
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