Our Montes Alpha Carmenère is made with selected grapes from our Colchagua Valley vineyards grown under our “Dry Farming” philosophy. Under this system we leave nature to do the job of irrigation through rain. We don’t irrigate unless nature does not provide us with the enough minimum rain that we have determined our vines need in which case we irrigate to compensate the difference. Dry Farming increases the final quality of the wines with more ripe fruit, and more weight in the mouth, decreasing the use of water up to 65%.
The grapes come from our El Arcángel Marchigüe estate, located at the western end of Colchagua valley, where, 18 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, the relatively cool climate allows this late-ripening variety to mature slowly and smoothly and reach full ripeness. Clay soils give strength and power to the wine. After fermentation, the wine is moved to French oak barrels where it is aged for 12 months.
Vineyard details: The grapes destined for our Alpha Carmenère come from vineyards located in the Marchigüe sector of the Colchagua Valley. The soils are of granitic origin and vary in their clay content, depth, organic matter, and especially in the types of stones found, which range from fluvial to glacial in origin, thus giving an idea of the diversity of soils in our El Arcángel estate. They are relatively shallow—in some cases no more than 60 cm, with medium clay content and a high capacity for water retention.
The topography is predominately flat with hills of low to medium height, and the vineyards are located in the areas with a less-pronounced slope. Vineyard density is 5,555 plants per hectare (2,250 pl/acre), and the vines are double guyot trellised for an approximate yield of 7,000 kg/ha (2.8 ton/acre). The leaves closest to the bunches are removed in early January, leaving them completely exposed to the sun to enable homogenous ripening and even more importantly, to reduce the variety’s characteristic pyrazine content.
Production: 15,000 cases
Harvest Period: April 15 – May 26
Harvest Report: The weather during the 2011–2012 season presented well-pronounced seasons with rainfall concentrated in the winter and a frost-free spring, creating ideal conditions for optimal foliage growth and cluster formation. A dry summer followed without the cold days presented in the previous year and was ideal for good bunch ripening. Aside from an unusual rainfall in late December, which delayed veraison but did not harm the fruit, there was no other precipitation during the summer months. Temperatures were unusually high, however, especially in February and March, which resulted in the need to begin harvest two weeks earlier than in a normal year. The grapes arrived at the cellar in very healthy condition with normal-weight bunches, small berries, and optimal ripeness.