This estate was founded by Don Francisco Undurraga Vicuña in 1885 but is now co-owned by the Picciotti family from Colombia and José Yuraszeck, a Chilean entrepreneur, and between them they have now formed a holding company, Grupo Vinos del Pacifico, that owns Undurraga, Volcanes deChile, a small production winery and TIB, which specialises in producing own label wines for clients. Winemaking philosophy has changed dramatically since 2006 and whilst they still produce some 1.5 million bottles annually from their 900 hectares of land, a lot of effort has gone into their TH (Terroir Hunter) range, highlighting production of only some 1,000 to 5,000 cases of each line. They have also been busy expanding their range of sparkling wines, mostly by the Charmat method, although they do have a small range of ultra premium wines produced by the méthode champenoise. The regular sparkling wines are divided into two ranges, one for export and one for local consumption. Curiously enough, that produced for local consumption is the better quality, having spent more time on the lees, so you will have to travel to Chile to taste the best! The reason for this seems to be that selling Chilean sparkling wines on the international market is a bit of a tough job, so they are cutting corners a bit in order to keep the price down. Nevertheless, they are all clean and racy for easy drinking with the traditionally produced Titillum range spending 3 years on the lees and showing good body and style. The TH range is a collection of terroir driven wines, either from their own vineyards, or bought in grapes from selected growers. Some wines of real quality are being made under this label. Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley has a nice grassy nose and Loire-like sweet-sour fruit, with lots of minerality, whilst one from Lo Abarca, even nearer to the ocean, is just as minerally but has more restrained fruit, more akin to a Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling from the San Antonio Valley has good varietal flavours but may lack a bit of acidity. Pinot Noir from Leyda displays good, fresh berry fruit, soft tannins and balancing acidity, whilst Carmenère from the much warmer Colchuaga Valley is unusually dark with deep-flavoured black fruit. Cool climate Syrah, on the other hand, shows minerality and spiciness, but can lack a little depth. Alto Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon from 30 year old vines, is smooth, rounded and well balanced and shows the maturity of the plant, but Carignan from 50 year old bush vines in the Maule Valley is really intense with high natural acidity and high alcohol which is definitely not for elegant sipping. Super premium wines include Founders Collection Cabernet Sauvignon from different plots in Maipo Valley, with vines over 30 years old displaying deep and unctuous black fruit and dark chocolate and their iconic blend from Alto Maipo of Cabernet Sauvignon (around 80%) Carmenère (8%), Syrah (8%) and Carignan (4%) named Altazor, showing classic structure and a good balance of fruit and acidity in a more European style and needing a minimum of 5 years cellaring. Percentages do vary slightly from year to year. The winemaking team of Rafael Urrejola, Carlos Concha and Patricio Lucera have certainly made great strides in bringing up the quality of Undurraga wines. (NB)
To find out more about Odfjell Vineyards and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide Chile..
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