Casa Lapostolle, which has emerged as one of Chile's leading wineries during the past five years, is changing winemakers. Jacques Begarie, 53, will be taking over the head winemaking role for the winery, which currently produces 150,000 cases annually.
"He has great experience," said owner Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle. "And with the people in the vineyards and winery, the connection was very easy."
This is the first position in Chile for Begarie, who most recently has worked with Bordeaux négociant Dourthe, where he spent the past 10 years as technical director, overseeing the group's seven châteaus and 1,350 acres of vineyards.
Begarie replaces Michel Friou, 36, who was winemaker at Lapostolle from the 1996 vintage through the 2004 harvest. Friou, who fashioned one of the first Chilean wines to earn a classic rating on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale -- the 95-point Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta Colchagua 2001 ($55) -- has taken a position with Baron Philippe de Rothschild's Chilean operation near Santiago, a move necessitated by family obligations.
"I was a little anxious at first," said Marnier-Lapostolle about the change. "But I am totally confident and relaxed now."
Check our ratings of Casa Lapostolle wines.