Harvest 2005: Consistently Strong Year for Chile

Quality looks high for white and red varieties in almost all areas
Jun 15, 2005

Chilean vintners benefited in 2005 from a long, moderate growing season that was consistent throughout all the major winegrowing valleys. With a late harvest, quality was strong among all the main grape varieties.

"In every single area and every single variety, the ripening came late-- two weeks for whites and 10 to 15 days for reds," said Andrés Ilbaca, winemaker for Viña Santa Rita.

After a slightly cooler than normal spring, the growing season was long and dry with average temperatures. The only blemish was a mid-March rainstorm that affected the Chardonnay crop in Casabalanca. Otherwise, growers reported good results with white varieties.

"It was a great year for Sauvignon Blanc and aromatic wines such as Viognier and Gewürztraminer," said Ignacio Recabarren, winemaker for Concha y Toro's Terrunyo line.

Some late rains fell at the end of April, but thanks in part to healthy skins, the grapes were able to shed off the moisture (in vineyards where irrigation had been limited during the season). This led to a strong harvest of late-ripening reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère.

"My guess is that the mild summer resulted in less water stress to the vines, which led to more berry growth," said Byron Kosuge, winemaker for Kingston Family in Casablanca Valley.

"This year we have riper and softer tannins, but a lot of them," said Aurelio Montes, winemaker and co-owner of Viña Montes. "2005 is a very good year for Cabs."