Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2018 edition article on Chile's Colchagua Valley (see blue link below)
Villalobos Carignan Reserva 2015 - June 2018 Decanter review
The Villalobos family consists of the mother, Rita Encina, a professional ceramicist, the father Enrique Villalobos, a sculptor, and their sons: Martin and Renaldo are both civil engineers and Alejandro is a philosophy professor. Each has their own profession, but they unite around their vineyards and viticulture.
They started making wine in 2007 with a small production from the family. It was only to be a small production for the family and friends made by their friend Martin Rousseau. They persevered, and began to make some of the most celebrated wines in Chile. The first commercial harvest in 2009 was awarded best Carignan in Chile from Descorchados.
This 60-year-old, non-industrial, organic vineyard continues to be in its wild state, without any pruning, irrigation or the use of chemical products such as pesticides or herbicides. The vineyard’s distinguishing feature is its untouched wilderness where for over the last 40 years Carignan vines have grown side-by-side native vegetation. This vineyard is bio-diverse, hosting a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including culen, maiten, quillai, hawthorn and rosehip, among others. The vineyard’s unique surroundings are instrumental in keeping the vines pest and disease-free. The vines grow freely among the trees climbing them for structural support. In fact, one comes across vines making their way up four metre trees alongside shrub-like vines three meters thick. Horses are used in the vineyard to prune by gently nibbling the vines and their droppings have the benefit of fertilising the vines. Indeed, they do not use any machinery that involves the use of fossil fuels.
The vineyard is located 30 km from the Pacific coast, settled in a warm, temperate climate with six to eight months of dry season yearly and up to 20-degree temperature differences. Particularly in the summer months, daily temperatures can range from 30°C to 10°C.
100% Carignan from old vines planted in the 1950s and 1960s. Total production is just 6,000 bottles, some evidence of the tight (and quality-inducing) yields pursued.
Fermented and macerated for 10 days with natural yests in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in barrels, followed by 18 months of ageing in French oak barrels (these used 3 times previously, ie limited oak flavour is deliberately imparted to the Carignan to preserve maximum fruit flavour/integrity whilst allowing tannis to soften).
Bright and intense ruby-red. Nose with a hint of wild blackberry and elegantly defined maqui berry. Delicate, soft and round tannins on the palate with a food-friendly acidity bearing traces of cherry and strawberry.