THE COASTAL FOGS OF D.O. LO ABARCA
One of the reasons for which the wines from Lo Abarca are considered amongst the best wines from Chile thanks to its uniqueness, are the coastal fogs from the Pacific Ocean which descend the hills into the little valley of Lo Abarca. Meanwhile the top of the vineyard is enjoying the sunlight, the vines planted at the lower part of the valley are covered by a dense morning fog. In the afternoon, the fog disappears and makes place for the sunlight which makes the vines of Lo Abarca shine.
The coastal fog helps us to lower the average temperatures during growing season in our valley and slow down the maturation of the grapes. This, and other factors, results in low yields, very concentrated grapes and a natural high acidity which is maintained during this slow maturation.
Thanks to the coastal fogs Casa Marin also has the perfect conditions for Noble Rot (Botrytis Cinerea). Botrytis is a fungus that grows on the grapes only in the ideal climatic conditions: high humidity in the morning (coastal fogs) and sunny afternoons when the grapes already reached veraison. Without this climatic condition, the fungus can transform into a bad fungus called Grey rot, which immediately affect the quality of the grapes in a negative way.
Wines made from botrytis are characterized by its sweetness and complexity. One of the most expensive white wines are made from 100% noble rot, like for example: Trockenbeerenauslese from Egon Müller (Riesling, Mosel, Germany) or Chateau d’Yquem (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon from Sauternes in France). Also, the famous wines from Tokaj in Hungary are made from botrytis,
In 2009, Felipe Marin decided to make a 100% botrytised Riesling. He let the botrytis fully develop on the grapes. The harvest took place the first week of July (normally the Riesling is harvested during the first week of April). This extremely late harvest generated a big loss as most of the bunches fell on the floor. The bunches that were left on the vines were so concentrated that there was extraordinarily little juice left but resulting in grapes with an incredible concentration, acidity, and complexity. The result was 1.200 bottles of 375ml, a very fine and complex late harvest wine which was chosen as best Late Harvest in Chile by Patricio Tapia. It represents the finesse of the wines produced in Lo Abarca.
Will we do it again? We must convince Marilu! For the moment we will not, as costs were too high, yields too low and today we need our grapes to produce our Casa Marin Riesling Miramar. But if we have the possibility in the future to plant more Riesling vines, we will do it again!
Did you try our Riesling Noble Rot 2009?