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 vineyards for this wine are in the Aconcagua Costa region, where cool breezes and proximity to the Pacific Ocean produce ideal conditions for the Chardonnay to ripen slowly and fully. The sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system, developed by Aurelio and his team, which allows for extremely precise and minimal irrigating. The varied sandy and loam soils lend this wine tremendous complexity. The primary clones used are Dijon 76 and Clone 95, the former contributing tropical fruit and citrus and the latter lending depth and concentration from exceptionally concentrated grapes. The vineyards are vertically trained and drip irrigated, with yields usually less than 9000 kg per hectare.
The 2015—2016 was good for water availability, with an optimal amount of water in the soil during flowering. Summer was not very hot, with only a few heat spikes in January and February. Ripening was therefore later than in previous years by around 12 days, which gave time to monitor the taste of the berries and select the picking moment very precisely.
The grapes were hand picked during the early hours of the morning to ensure they reached the cellar at a cool temperature. The Chardonnay was processed using three different techniques: whole-cluster pressed, destemmed and pressed, and destemmed and cold macerated for a few hours. Fermentation took place in tank for 25 days at temperatures of 13°C – 14°C. 35% of the final blend was fermented in barrels with differing degrees of toast. 25% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, to obtain smoother wines with greater aromatic complexity.
This wine is bright golden, yellow in colour. The intense, complex nose offers tropical fruit aromas such as pineapple, banana and ripe mango, while pleasing notes of peaches and pears round out the fruity profile. The coastal climate is very much present in the subtle notes of grapefruit and white asparagus. The French oak also complements the aromatic profile with elegant and well-integrated toasted notes that recall hazelnut and vanilla. Perfectly balanced acidity results in a very fresh wine that also has generous volume.