Wine Talk

Snooth User: ChipDWood

WinSpec's top wine, 2008, & aspects of the "gravity-flow winery".

Posted by ChipDWood, Nov 15, 2008.

This was, well, frankly; REALLY SHOCKING TO ME, actually. A good shocking.

2005, Casa Lapostolle, Clos Apalta
(Hope that link works. Wet, round ears.

The brief article from Wine Spectator (Full link here:

"Since its outstanding debut 1997 vintage, Casa Lapostolle's Clos Apalta bottling has helped to establish Chile as a premier red-wine region. Owner Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle and her team created a blend of Chile's distinctive Carmenère variety, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the estate's oldest vines in Colchagua's Apalta sub-valley, then kept refining: fermenting in smaller lots, hand-destemming berries and constructing a gravity-flow winery. All this came to fruition in the long, warm, dry 2005 vintage, easily Chile's modern best. Marnier and new winemaker Jacques Begarie blended in 4 percent Petit Verdot for the first time, adding aroma and color. Rich and velvety, the 2005 Clos Apalta should reward cellaring. The wine's price has remained relatively modest through the years."

A Carmenere blend. Color me intrigued as all get-out. I'm also very intrigued by the whole concept of the "gravity-flow winery". It follows the theory that the less one stresses the skins (see: pumps) during the wine process, the "happier" the final blend becomes, as the wine is imbued with a more natural character & set of flavors.


Reply by MReff, Nov 16, 2008.

What is interesting is that the grape Carmenere made it number one. I first sampled this grape on its own last April in New Orleans. It is a powerhouse on its own thus one would assume that it would be great blended. Casa Lapostolle obviously constructed a well made wine. Bravo

Reply by Adam Levin, Nov 17, 2008.

I wonder if this will push Chile past Argentina in popularity and "the next hot region" status.

Reply by MReff, Nov 17, 2008.

Chilean wines are grossly underated. Probably similar to what Spain was like about 10 years ago. I would bet stocking up on some great wines with Carmenere and cellaring them for a number of years.

Reply by Adam Levin, Nov 17, 2008.

Any suggestions of good Carmenere wines? I know very little about these.

Here's some background info courtesy of the Snooth Group Pages:

Reply by MReff, Nov 17, 2008.

I know of Santa Carolina, Casa Silva, Monte Gra, Santa Rita ,and Santa Laura. These should be 100% Carmenere.

Reply by Adam Levin, Nov 17, 2008.

Great, thanks for the recommendations.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Nov 18, 2008.

I've had good and bad experiences, but a few recent bad Chilean wine bottles I've had turned me away from the region for the short term. Maybe it's time to go back armed with a couple of recommendations.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Nov 18, 2008.

Oh, and I appreciate the gravity-flow concept. Lemelson Vineyards in Oregon is also gravity flow. It's a cool idea and very kind to the wines. Not sure what kind of difference it makes but would be interested to try a split test of two wines made from the same crop, the same way, one g-flow and one with pumping.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 18, 2008.

Shocking is an understatement! I still am amazed but good for the Spec to be going it's own way. Can't say I love the wine but that is the beauty of wine. Gravity flow is an old concept. One that was used out of necessity in days before pumps and other modern conveniences. It probably does produce finer wines in a way, much like treading the grapes by foot.

Mreff, glad to see you chiming in here!

Reply by dzitt, Nov 19, 2008.

For a 100% Carmenere wine, you could look for the Montes Purple Angle. Just bought 2 bottles of 2005 and will wait a few years to see what they could become....

For more infos, just look there:


Reply by John Andrews, Nov 21, 2008.

I have to throw in that I am completely amazed. Top wine of the year _AND_ it is under $100. Has that ever happened before? The WS 100 in the past has reeked of a popularity contest to me but this definitely was unexpected.

Makes me think, was it bought? Casa Lapostle does a lot of advertising in WS.

As for Chilean wines, my experience there 4 years ago is that the wines are very hit and miss. The wine industry (at that time) was focused on national sales and quality was less of a concern. Actually, I can say the same for Argentina at that same time (I was there too).

@Adam ... one wine that I like that has a blend of Carmenere is Veramonte Primus:

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