Antinori purchases Haras de Pirque in the Maipo Valley
Tuscan giant invests further in the Maipo Valley
Regular Wine behind the label readers will be interested in this recent snippet of news.
The sizeable (well very sizeable) Tuscan merchant house of Antinori has increased its investment in the Chilean Haras de Pirque winery acquiring 100% ownership in the property. In order to give readers an up to date view of both operations we include below the text profiles of both from the latest 10th edition of Wine behind the label. As well as its extensive interests in Italy Antinori owns the California Antica winery in the Napa Valley.
Haras de Pirque
Haras de Pirque are based in the Maipo Valley just outside Chile’s capital city Santiago with vineyards planted in the foothills of the Andes at an altitude of around 2,000 feet. Antinori winemaking chief Renzo Cotarella by all accounts plans a major overhaul of the firm’s vineyards and sees much potential for the future of the project.
Haras de Pirque profile:
Eduardo Matte acquired this 600 ha estate in the higher reaches of the Maipo Valley in 1991 and over the next couple of years planted 120 ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The property is perhaps better known as one of Chile’s best thoroughbred horse breeding studs. With vineyards planted at an altitude of between 550 and 660metres above sea level the local climate provides fruit of excellent ripeness and well balanced acidity. There are two well-priced ranges Equus and Haras offering good well-made essentially fruit driven styles. There are also three superior wines which take the Character label, including finely structured spicy and restrained Syrah, leafy Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenère as well as Chardonnay. Just below the summit of the winery’s production are the Elegance Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, which also includes a little Syrah and Cabernet Franc. Chardonnay is big and opulent with marked tropical fruit. The Cabernet shows its high altitude origins with a firm structure and minty undercurrent to its fruit. The top red, Albis is well-structured firm and in an elegant and quite restrained style with reined in new wood and a supple rounded texture from malolactic in barrel. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère it offers good depth and intensity, as it should as one of Chile’s more expensive reds. Cellaring for five years is advisable.
It’s been said many times that no one has done more for Tuscan wine than Piero Antinori and this is well borne out in the radical innovation and experimentation as well as expansion he has brought about. He and his daughters continue to promote quality and to enlarge the empire, which spans some 1,400 ha of vineyards. The Tuscan estates are covered below but see also PRUNOTTO (Piedmont & NW Italy), CASTELLO DELLA SALA (Central Italy) and TORMARESCA (Southern Italy). In common with many large producers, quality at the lower levels is not very exciting. Most famous are the wines of the Santa Cristina estate, Tignanello and Solaia. Tignanello, for many the original Super-Tuscan, was first made in 1971 and has been a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon since 1975 (typically 80/20 but 5% of the 20 is sometimes Cabernet Franc). Not every vintage has qualified as great but it’s still a very good wine. Solaia is Antinori’s flagship and usually a very worthy one at that with added breadth and class; it is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with support from Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. As well as estates in Bolgheri (GUADO AL TASSO), Montalcino (PIAN DELLE VIGNE) and Montepulciano (LA BRACCESCA), there are other properties scattered about Tuscany for whites and lesser reds including vineyards in the fashionable Maremma (Aldobrandesca for a varietal Aleatico). Antinori’s interests also extend abroad, into Hungary, California and most recently Chile, where it is undertaking a joint venture with Haras de Pirque called Albis. Also made is Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand.