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Mind-Blowing 98 Points | Errazuriz Las Pizarras | Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
The Aconcagua valley is particular in Chile as it is much more open to coastal influences than any where else in the country. Errazuriz’s Manzanar estate in Chilhué is the home of the Las Pizarras vineyard. The estate was planted in 2005 and consists of 225 hectares, planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Errazuriz knows how to make great wine, they are responsible for the stunning Sena, which has now cemented itself as a ‘Top Tier’ wine worldwide.
Francisco Baettig, head winemaker at Errazuriz, makes the Pizarras range, enthused “This is the most exciting thing I think I’ve ever worked on and the results is the best wine I have ever made“. That’s a BIG, BIG claim.
A purist-Burgundian approach to making wine was adopted, not seen before in Chile – this is Chile’s first old world approach to producing wine. Baettig also hired Burgundy’s renowned geologist, Françoise Vannier-Petit to help him ‘map’ the area in the same way she had done for Chambolle-Musigny.
The chosen site has schist and slate soils that produce linear, precise wines without the abundance of sweet fruit which characterises many Chilean wines. In this approach, he says “I wanted to really identify the quality potential, and examine everything – the soils, the geology, the exposure, in order to find the Grand Cru equivalent”.
The vineyard yields are in the region of 8-10 tonnes per hectare; fewer than 300 cases are produced from the Chardonnay, and about 500 cases for Pinot Noir. This is indeed Grand Cru quantity , and quality is out of this world.
Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2014
2014 marks the first vintage release of the Las Pizarras. All fruit (80% de-stemmed, 20% whole cluster) was hand-picked and rigorously hand sorted prior to going directly into small open-top fermenters. Of the estate’s 70 hectares of Pinot Noir under vine, only around 10% is deemed to be of Las Pizarras quality. Aged in 50% new oak. Flinty and smoky on the nose, leading into a palate of supple, bright red cherry, which is luminous and has fine yet quite powerful grippy tannins.
“Fabulous aromas of slate, rust, iron, and dried strawberries. Full body, firm tannins, wonderfully polished. Fine and caressing. Complex flavors too. A wonderful finish. Dusty texture as well. This is a small production wine from the family’s best vineyards of the Manzanar farm with pure slate soils. Full Burgundy treatment. 50% whole cluster pressing. Aged in 50% new oak. Louis Michel Liger-Belair of Burgundy consulted on this wine” – James Suckling 98 Points
Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2014
There are 42 hectares of Chardonnay planted at the estate, 3 or 4 parcels of which are deemed to be of Las Pizarras quality, consisting of around 4 hectares in total. Excellent fruit density on the nose and palate, with some phenolic grip. 13% abv, 3.1 pH. This saw 20% new oak for 12 months.
“This is tight and dense with gun powder, slate, sliced apple, white pineapple and a hint of pie crust. Full body, gorgeous texture and length. It’s so complex and firm. Needs at least five years to come out, but great potential.” – James Suckling 96 Points
“The profile is austere and there is nothing tropical; there’s not a lot of fruit and in fact, there are more aromas of nuts, spices and definitively something earthy, mineral, marine — almost saline — with a low pH, marked acidity and restrained alcohol. The palate is terribly tasty and very dry; it really makes you salivate in a way that made me think of a Chablis (and oysters!). Groundbreaking marine and slate Chardonnay, bravo! I’d love to see this wine in ten years.” – Wine Advocate 95 Points
The FGJ Offer
I’ve not been so excited to write about a wine in a LONG time, and these single vineyard Las Pizarras wines are blowing my mind. With the exception of labels like Sena, Don Melchor, Almaviva and the like, Chile has not been known for producing world-class wines, instead building a reputation for mass-market, competitively priced wines….until now. No matter what one thinks about ratings and points, NO Chilean wine, let alone a non-Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec has scored over 95 points. Never. Period.
If served blind, 8 of 10 advanced wine drinkers would not be able to distinguish if this is Old World or from somewhere in the New World – yup, it’s that impressive. It is surprising EVEN IF it receives the same care and attention to detail as a Grand Cru Burgundy (Louis Michel Liger-Belair was brought in as consultant) because terroir cannot be replicated.
If what is happening at Errazuriz are a sign of things to come for Pinot and Chard in Chile, then Carmenere better look over its shoulders because it’s going to be knocked right off its pedestal. For wine enthusiasts, this is a wine you have to taste in 2018 and forever put the “I don’t drink South American” demons to rest. Pinot-philes; don’t miss out….this drinks like a Grand Cru minus the Clos de Bèze price tag.
48 bottles of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in stock, ready to ship immediately. If you want your bottles before CNY, please place your orders today.
Las Pizarras Pinot Noir
RM345/bottle for 3 or more bottles
Las Pizarras Chardonnay
RM235/bottle for 3 or more bottles
Prices are inclusive of GST
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