Piero Antinori, one of Tuscany's leading vintners, has joined the ranks of other high-profile European vintners who have been lured by the vast potential of Chile's wine industry. In March, Antinori signed a joint-venture agreement to produce a high-end wine with Eduardo Matte, owner of Viña Haras de Pirque, whose own wines just debuted in the United States.
"Piero came to Chile in February 2002," said Matte, an entrepreneur and thoroughbred-horse owner who completed construction on his own winery in 2000. "After visiting Haras and tasting our wines, he said to me, 'If you want to make an Almaviva together, let's talk about it.'" (Almaviva, which debuted in 1999, was one of Chile's first high-profile international joint ventures, formed between Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A.)
The new wine, as yet unnamed, is made primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Carmenère. The initial 2001 vintage produced just 500 cases, though plans are to increase production over the next five years to 10,000 cases annually.
The wine is a selection from some of Haras de Pirque's best vineyard parcels and best barrels of wine. The winery, located in the Pirque region of Chile, uses only estate-grown fruit from its 360-plus acres of vineyards.
Making the wine is Álvaro Espinoza, one of Chile's most talented winemakers, along with Antinori's chief enologist, Renzo Cotarella. Wine Spectator will formally review the wine on release, which is slated for the beginning of 2004 in the United States. A price has not yet been determined.
Read more about Viña Haras de Pirque:
Read more about Antinori of Tuscany: