Every Wine Bloggers Conference features Wine Discovery Sessions that offer sit-down, in-depth wine education in a formal setting. There are six Wine Discovery Sessions at the 2015 conference – three to choose from on Friday, August 14 and three to choose from on Saturday, August 15. The WBC enthusiastically announces the details of the Wine Discovery Session presented by Montes Wines.
The “Wine Across the Andes” Wine Discovery Session at the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference represents the steady, migratory path the Montes family takes every year. The transition from one home to another and with the purpose of nurturing their wine progeny in both Chile and Argentina. Led by second generation winemaker, Aurelio Montes Jr., this Wine Discovery Session, held on Saturday, August 15, will focus on the Montes Winery in the Colchagua Valley and it’s sibling, Kaiken Winery, in Mendoza.
Already having achieved greatness with the Alpha M series of wines that put Chile in the international limelight as a deserving super-premium producer, Aurelio Montes Jr.’s father, Aurelio Sr., desired to continue pursuing the dream of excellence on the other side of the Andes. The Montes wings spread from their original plantings in the Colchagua Valley in the Central Valley area of Chile to the Luján de Cuyo district of Mendoza, Argentina in 2001.
“Wine Across the Andes” showcases the Montes family adage that “80% of wine is made in the vineyard” and will highlight this with the comparison of the Montes Alpha wines from Chile and the Argentine Kaiken Ultra wines.
The Colcaghua Valley is home to the Chilean cowboy, the “huaso”, but the Montes Alpha wines are anything but rough around the edges. The 2012 line of Dry Farmed Montes Alphas wines was the first vintage released of wines made almost entirely via dry farming methods and following a lengthy, calculated study conducted in the Colchagua Valley to determine exact water amounts needed to successfully grow winegrapes in this part of Chile. Aurelio Montes Jr. relays:
We have seen in several tasting panels that through dry farming, we increase the concentration and final quality of the wines. We get more ripe fruit and more weight in the mouth. Wine made with dry farmed grapes has a higher concentration of phenols, allowing it to better undergo natural oxidation in the barrel, and picking up more complexity and nuances during ageing.
The 2012-2014 growing season saw a 65% reduction of water used on the Montes vineyard properties and another highly successful growing season.
The Kaiken estate, symbolized by the wild geese that cross the Andes mountains every year, the Caiquenes, is a hub in the wine district of Vistalba. Having a gentle hand is one of the keys to the Kaiken production and the winery, originally constructed in 1920, was retrofitted with a gravity fed system of grape delivery. With it’s base in Argentina, the Ultra label produces a Cabernet and a Malbec and represents the best suitability for each variety in both Chile and Argentina. Sitting at almost 3,000 feet in elevation, the Uco and Vistalba vineyards wake up to a dramatic, mountainous backdrop every day and a long, even-keeled growing climate and well-draining alluvial soils. Aurelio Montes Jr. cultivates a breadth of wines at Kaiken and believes Argentina has the growing climate for “more than just Malbec.” The Terroir series red blends and Torrontés wines source grapes from regions surrounding Mendoza and also including the Salta region in the north which is considered Argentina’s “most radical wine region” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Vineyard elevations in Salta can be over 6,000 feet which provide ample night-time coolness and ample acidity above the dramatic coastline.
Aurelio Montes Jr. has traveled to more than 40 countries with the purpose of enhancing his borderless, every-flowing wine operations. He looks forward to presenting “Wines Across the Andes” at this Wine Discovery Session at the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference in the Finger Lakes and inspiring the audience to travel with him to Chile and Argentina, via glass.