Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim to produce the best wines in Chile from the best regions. We have long admired Montes and what they have done for Chilean wine over the past three decades. Their wines are consistently good because they are meticulous throughout the entire production process. Montes own 800 hectares of vineyards in Apalta and Marchigue located in Colchagua Valley as well a single vineyard Zapallar, in the coastal Aconcagua Valley. By this, they are able to retain full control of everything that is planted, cultivated and picked. The results are there for you to taste. The fact that the 'Classic Series' is Montes' entry point says a lot about this estate. The wines are all from different regions that make the best example of the specific variety.
The grapes came mainly from the the most coastal part of the Colchagua Valley. Soil depth is predominantly moderate, with extremely variable amounts of granite, red clay, and little organic matter overall. The Merlot grows no more than 120 metres above sea level, with a north-northwest orientation. The vines are vertically positioned and double Guyot pruned. Vines are planted to a density of 5555 per hectare to obtain yields of approximately 10 tonnes per hectare.
Recurring frosts fell from mid-September onward and affected huge tracts of vineyards throughout the country. Coastal zones and, to a lesser extent, the Central Valley, were the most affected. The areas planted with Merlot were impacted less by frost and more by a delay in the phenological stages, which delayed budbreak and flowering by around two weeks. The year’s low rainfall and very hot summer meant that the Merlot grapes caught up with the regular growth cycle and ripened at a good pace, free from fungal diseases. Harvest started two weeks earlier than normal, lasting from the 13th March to the 30th April.
The grapes were cold soaked at 10°C for five days to extract aroma and colour. After that, the grapes were fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 12 days and then kept on their skins to give structure and colour. After malolactic fermentation, 45% of the final blend was aged in first-use French oak barrels for eight months to add complexity and roundness to the wine.
This deep ruby coloured Merlot offers a variety of fresh red fruit aromas including raspberry, cherry and plum. French oak is evident, with notes of vanilla and nutmeg, as well as a hint of caramel. The palate is nicely balanced, with very subtle tannins, a good structure and a long finish.