The 2017 20 Barrels Chardonnay was produced with selected grapes from vines from their Fundo El Centinela estate in Casablanca, a cooler coastal part of the valley where the temperatures are three degrees cooler than in the rest of the valley. 2017 was a warm year that saw an early harvest. The juice from pressing the full clusters matured in French oak barrels, where 75% of the wine matured for eight months while the rest aged in egg-shaped concrete vats. They like to keep between three and four grams of sugar to balance out the phenolic notes and the acidity, so 3.9 grams of sugar remained unfermented. It has a smoky profile, quite classical and with an austere palate. They select the lots by tasting them blind, but most of the time they select a lot from a plot with very red soils on granite with lots of quartz that gives some austere sensations, even a saltiness in the finish. It has very good tension and depth, with more nuance and complexity than the single-vineyard bottling that is from the same estate but from different blocks. 13,000 bottles were filled in December 2017.
Matías Ríos has taken over winemaking duties from Adolfo Hurtado. He presented me a diverse selection of wines, with a great diversity of varieties. I had always thought of Cono Sur as a kind of Pinot Noir specialist, but as you can see here, I tasted a bit of everything from their very, very wide portfolio. All the whites are bottled without malolactic in an effort to achieve freshness, and the Pinot Noirs are elegant and textured with the influence from the granite soils that make them different from the wines from Burgundy.