Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, first produced in 1987, broke the mould for premium wines in Chile. Since then, Alpha has developed to become the core range in the Montes portfolio. The grapes and sites are carefully selected in order to ensure varietal integrity and complexity. Viticulture is hands on rather than mechanical or industrial. The result is a range of wines that offer superb value within the premium wine market.
The grapes come from Montes' vineyards in Apalta and Marchigüe. The sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system which allows for precise and minimal irrigating, reducing their water footprint by 65%. In Apalta, vines are planted on 45° slopes, providing good exposure for ripeness. Cool ocean breezes and low night-time temperatures moderate this warm area, allowing for retention of varietal aromas and acidity. Marchigüe is cooler and lies in the rain shadow of the Coastal Range, reducing the threat of fungal disease and resulting in consistently healthy harvests. All grapes were hand-harvested.
The 2013– 2014 season was marked by a series of frosts that began during the second half of September and affected many hectares of vines throughout the country, although primarily concentrated in the sectors closest to the coast and to a lesser degree, in the central valley. Apalta, however, did not have any significant frosts, and therefore the phenological stages evolved normally. The winter was not only very cold, but it was dry. Rainfall was at least 30% lower than usual. The first phenological stages began at least two weeks later than normal due to the influence of the cold spring, although the very hot summer caused the grapes to ripen more quickly, which meant harvest began earlier than planned for some blocks. This season’s lower yields resulted in healthy fruit with good concentration of colour and intensity of flavour.
The grapes were cold soaked at 10°C for five days to extract aroma and colour. The grapes were then fermented in stainless steel tanks for 12 days and kept on their skins to give structure and colour. After malolactic fermentation, 55% of the final blend was aged in French oak barrels (1/3 new) for 12 months to add complexity and roundness to the wine.
Potent notes of ripe red fruit, cherries in syrup, blackcurrants and a stewed fruit character. Notes of dairy, a hint of nutmeg, rich toast and a touch of tobacco intermingle with its fruity character. The palate is well balanced with round tannins, good structure and a long, elegant finish.