Famed Spanish wine company, Miguel Torres, has had interests in Chile since 1979 when they acquired a small vineyard in the Curico valley. Since 2010 Torres’ Chilean venture has been overseen by Miguel Torres Maczassek, a fifth generation winemaker, who is in charge of maintaining the tradition and passion for wine making that the Torres family has shown for over one hundred years.
The Maule Valley is a sub-region of the Central Valley wine-growing region located 155 miles to the south of Santiago. It is one of the largest and oldest wine-growing valleys and is characterised by a predominance of lots of old-bush, dry-farmed vineyards, a Mediterranean climate with 735 mms rain annually and is planted with Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Newer plantings include Carmenere, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Carignan was first widely planted in the Maule Valley in the 1940s when the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture encouraged its planting improve the local wines with its naturally high acidity and good colour. In November 2009 a group called “Vigno”, the “Vignadores de Carignan”, was created to promote and market Carignan wines from the Maule Valley. This is an an organisation of growers and winemakers, the 12 founding members are Bravado Wines, De Martino, Garage Wine Co, Viña Gillmore, Viña Lomas de Cauquenes, Viña Meli, Miguel Torres, Morandé, Odfjell, Undurraga, and Valdivieso. “Vigno” wines have to be produced from at least 65% old, dry-grown Carignan vines in the Maule Valley.
The Carignan vines here can be up to 80 years old and are some of the world’s oldest. Carignan has always been considered something of a workhorse grape variety and it is normally blended with other grape varieties as is the case here. It is also very prevalent in many Languedoc Roussillon blends from the south of France and in Spain in Priorat.
Torres Cordillera Carignan is made from 85% Carignan, 8% Syrah, 6% Merlot sourced from old, dry vineyards in the Maule Valley and is aged for 11 months in French oak, 30 % new.
Torres Cordillera Carignan has a good, deep ruby red colour. The nose is dominated by dark fruits and fruits of the forest. There is a sweet blackcurrant nose which reminds me of blackcurrant Chewits. Remember them? (see Alan Partridge wine tasting and describing a wine as tasting like Chewits). In addition there is a (not unpleasant) slightly oily or waxy note. The palate is full, rich and quite youthful. There are plenty more blackcurrant notes with roasted coffee, garrigue herbs with a relatively firm tannic backbone. The finish is a little bit drying but quite lingering. Very good value for money.
“Sleek, powerful and earthy with damson and vanilla fruit, gentle spice and plum and candle wax aromas. Lovely stuff.” 4 Stars, decanter.com
“Opaque ruby. Musky cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by anise, herbs and vanilla. Broad and slightly bitter on the palate, displaying dark cherry, vanilla and licorice qualities. Expands with air and finishes smooth and gently sweet, leaving bitter cherry and spice notes behind.” 88 Points, International Wine Cellar, May / June 2012.