10 red wine icons: best of the New World
The European settlers did not want to go without wine in their new homeland and exported vines across the oceans to Chile, Argentina, South Africa and the USA.
The South African Cape region was developed for viticulture by the East India Company as early as 1652, and in Argentina and Chile, the tradition of viticulture goes as far back as the 16th century. In the New World countries, production initially only had local significance for a relatively long time, but wine culture developed steadily. The recent history of these countries is also closely interwoven with their political and economic development. Only with democratisation and the end of apartheid did the export of wine take off. Joint ventures with leading European and Californian producers brought the regions to the top of the world.
Bionic FrogCayuse, Washington
There is no doubt that wine is in Christophe Baron's blood. His family has been growing wine in Champagne since 1677. An internship initially brought him to Walla Walla on the border between the US states of Washington and Oregon in 1993. But the penny didn't drop until 1996, when Baron discovered countless round stones - similar to the galets roulés of southern France - in a field during a visit. This became a vineyard in 1997, and in 2000 the first “Bionic Frog” wine came onto the market, a pure Syrah that immediately attracted attention. The second vintage instantly achieved 98 points in the American “Wine Advocate”. The fact that a Syrah achieves such a reputation in Cabernet-influenced America is a special merit for the Frenchman.
- Recommended vintages: 2015, 2014, 2010, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
- Price: €€€
AlmavivaRothschild, Concha Y Toro, Chile
On January 28th 1997, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and Eduardo Guilisasti Tagle signed a partnership agreement to create a Franco-Chilean premium wine called “Almaviva”. Produced under the technical supervision of the two partner wineries, the first vintage was made in 1996 and presented to the public in 1998 to great international acclaim. The wine itself is made from the classic red Bordeaux varieties. Chile offers its soils, climate and vines, France contributes its winemaking know-how and a long tradition. The result of these combined efforts is a wine of power and great complexity, endowed with ageing potential.
- Recommended vintages: 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2007, 2002
- Price: €€
SeñaViña Seña, Chile
Robert Mondavi visited the Chilean vineyards in 1991 and was enthralled. A few years later he entered into a joint venture with Eduardo Chadwick of the Errazuriz winery. The result of this cooperation is the “Senã “, a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chile's signature grape variety Carménère. In 1998, a vineyard was planted in Ocoa for this wine, which has been cultivated according to biodynamic principles since 2005. Since 2004, the vineyard has been in the sole possession of the Chadwick family; Eduardo Chadwick has made it his most personal concern. The result of a large blind tasting in Berlin involving the best Cabernet-influenced wines from Europe caused a sensation, with Seña achieving a great second place.
- Recommended vintages: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2013, 2006, 2004
- Price: €€
Clos ApaltaCasa Lapostolle, Chile
The Apalta Valley south of Chile's capital Santiago is home to the Casa Lapastolle winery, where the French Marnier-Lapostolle family make their world-class wines. Supported by Bordelais star oenologist Michel Rolland, they developed the top wine “Clos Apalta”, which was bottled for the first time in the 1997 vintage. From the very beginning, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle relied on the best clone material and vines with the same roots – some older than 100 years – to be able to produce the best wines. In 2013, her son Charles-Henri de Bournet Marnier Lapostolle took over and since then, together with Jacques Begarie, they have carefully applied the principles of biodynamics to achieve the best possible expression of the terroir.
- Recommended vintages: 2018, 2016, 2015, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1997
- Price: €€
Viñedo ChadwickErrazuriz, Chile
Back in 1870, Dom Maximiano Errazuriz founded a winery in Chile's beautiful Aconcagua Valley. His great-grandson Eduardo Chadwick has been running the winery since 1983 with great energy and a sense of innovation. In memory of his ancestors, Eduardo decided to create a particularly expressive red wine cuvée, starting with the 1999 vintage, and to give it the family name. The grapes for this ultra-premium wine come from the Maipo Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon finds the best conditions for perfect ripeness. With a tiny amount of Carménère, the “Viñedo Chadwick” is given a typical Chilean DNA that promises great elegance in the glass.
- Recommended vintages: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2008, 2005, 2001
- Price: €€
Adrianna VineyardCatena Zapata, Argentina
Laura Catena Zapata has taken over the reins of the country's best-known winery from her father Nicolas and is literally taking the wines to the lightest heights. Her favourite vineyard, the Adrianna Vineyard, is located in the Uco Valley appellation in Gualtallary; high up on the slopes of the Andes, and both Chardonnay and red grape varieties of exquisite quality thrive here. The Malbec for the top wine with the admittedly somewhat strange name “Mundus Bacillus Terrae” grows on a small 1.4 hectare plot. The inspiration for the name of the plot is the bacteria that helps the roots of the vines absorb nutrients. Regardless of this: it is a single-varietal Malbec of stature.
- Recommended vintages: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005.
- Price: €€€
Gran EnemigoEl Enemigo, Argentina
Located at the foot of the Andes in Argentina's Mendoza wine-growing region, Bodega Aleanna is now over 80 years old. On around twelve hectares, oenologist Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena cultivate the Malbec grape variety, which was introduced from France in 1850 and has become the country's flagship red variety. The vineyards in Gualtallary reach up to 1400 metres above sea level, and the sun-drenched sites produce red wines of particularly multi-faceted aromas and great complexity. The stately “Gran Enemigo” is a cuvée with Malbec as the foundation, joined by portions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, resulting in a rich, silky red.
- Recommended vintages: 2017, 2016, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
- Price: €€
Bella Vista MalbecAchavál-Ferrer, Argentina
Business partners Santiago Achával and Manuel Ferrer teamed up with Italian “flying winemaker” Roberto Cipresso to rescue vineyards of old Malbec vines that were about to be abandoned due to low yields. The oldest vines came from Finca Bella Vista, where the winery has been located since 2006. These “museum pieces” grow in Lujan de Cuyo on the banks of the Mendoza River at 990 metres above sea level, are true to their roots and were planted in 1910. There is also Finca Mirador and Finca Altamira. Small quantities are harvested from the old vines and vinified for elegance. When these wines came onto the market, they immediately captivated with their incredibly floral aromas and pervasive freshness.
- Recommended vintages: 2016, 2011, 2007
- Price: €
ColumellaThe Sadie Family, South Africa
Ex-surfer Eben Sadie started with his first barrels in 1999 and named his first cuvée in 2000 after the ancient Roman author of agrarian writings, Lucius Columella. His grapes do not grow in one of South Africa's classic wine-growing regions, but on granite soils in the dry-hot Swartland, which stretches northwest from Cape Agulhas to Cape Columbine. Sadie has also looked around Europe, vinified excellent wines in Roussillon as well as in Priorat and brought the know-how gained here to South Africa for his project. On countless small vineyards, planted within a radius of up to 80 kilometres around the winery, Sadie experiments with a variety of grape varieties and biodynamic principles.
- Recommended vintages: 2018, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2003, 2002
- Price: €€
Paul SauerKanonkop, South Africa
Peter Sauer, born in 1898 and a politician himself, grew up on the Uitkyk estate at the foot of the Simonsberg. His mother Mary came from the oldest wine estate in South Africa, Groot Konstantia, and her love of wine set the path for Paul Sauer. He grew the first grapes on Uitkyk as early as 1921, and the first cellar was built in 1942. The first wines under the name “Kanonkop” were not sold until 1974 - through the influence of the ambitious and talented estate manager and cellar master Jan Coetzee, who was already betting on Cabernet Sauvignon at that time. Coetzee's successor Beyers Truter then launched a Bordeaux blend called “Paul Sauer” with the 1981 vintage, which has since become a wine icon in South Africa.
- Recommended vintages: 2017, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2004, 1994
- Price: €
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