“It was a very emotional harvest,” explains petite Andrea Leon Iriarte, winemaker and communications manager for Lapostolle winery in Chile, describing the vintage of 2010. Yet the Sauvignon Blanc, with just a hint of semillion, was crisp and delicious, as was the Carmenere.
A small and select group of journalists are listening to the charismatic Andrea speak about the history of Lapostolle, with its passionate founders and tradition of French winemakers (Michel Rolland is a consultant) and taste the 2010 and 2009 vintages.
Carmenere is the grape of the moment, and Lapostolle is at the top of its game in terms of its attention to quality and especially its eye toward the future. In the course of the tasting we learned that the company is experimenting with a wide variety of vineyard sites, from the coast to the hills, and we tasted a barrel sample from the ‘Explorer’s Collection’ Carmenere Marchique 2010. It was full bodied and somewhat rustic, with a clear oak influence.
What is also interesting about Lapostolle is that they are experimenting with Hungarian oak, in addition to French, which according to Andrea gives the wines a nutty quality.
“The top wines of the tastings were Cuvee Alexandre, everyone’s favorite, which is a favorite at Bergdorf-Goodman in NYC, and also the Clos Apalta, which is a blend of 78% Carmenere, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon to give it structure, and 3% Petite Verdot. It was delicious and full bodied, and according to Andrea can be very long lived.”
Seeing passion in winemakers is so telling about any winery — just like good wine starts with well-grown grapes in the vineyard, wines need a passionate winemaker to turn these grapes into good wine.
… and that is what Lapostolle is all about.