Chile’s most-awarded winery is 100% family-owned and was voted ChileanWinery of the Year in 2013 while its Cabernet Sauvignon Los Lingues Gran Reserva 2013 was voted Best Cabernet Sauvignon of Chile in 2014. The Los Lingues Gran Reserva 2013 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which has spent 12 to 18 months in oak. Only French oak is used and the winery makes a point of matching the barrel-makers to the wine varietal.
Mario’s family originally hailed from St Emilion in France back in 1887. His mother’s side of the family was originally involved in the winery while Mario’s father was a dentist who – after a further decade in dentistry – was eventually persuaded to join the family firm.
Born in 1969 Mario began wondering way back in 1997 why the winery only produced bulk wine. The family decided that the company needed to move into bottled premium wine and began making wines under the Casa Silva label.
Based in the Valle de Colchagua, Mario pointed out that while Chile is a very long ‘thin’ perpendicular country, Chilean wines differ most in going from the much thinner West to East of the country in the same way as Bordeaux’s coastal influence offers a completely different climate from that of Burgundy, a more central part of Europe’s landmass.
The range at the tasting included:
- The Casa Silva Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2015 which is 100% hand-picked (no oak ageing here).
- Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2013. This was the first vineyard from the cool coastal hills of the Colghagua Valley, some 6km back from the Pacific Ocean itself.
- Casa Silva Sauvignon Gris of which only 20,000 bottles have been produced from the oldest Sauvignon Gris vines in Chile (and probably the world). This vineyard was first planted in 1912 by the first generation of the Silva family and its Sauvignon Gris is fermented entirely in stainless steel vats.
- Cool Coast Pinot Noir 2012 which should be served at 16 degrees and has a RRP of €16.99.
Innovation at Casa Silva
The winery prides itself on being innovatory and has two top-of-the-range labels to show for it.
Casa Silva Altura label red wine, a bottle of which Mario had brought with him back from Hong Kong’s Vinexpo, had spent between 18 months and two years in oak and four more in bottle before being released.
With an ABV of 14.5%, Altura comprises 40% Carmenere, 30% Cab Sauv, 15% Syrah and 15% Petit Verdot.
The other, the ‘Micro Terroir Carmenere 2008’, forms part of the Micro Terroir project which sees some 90 different minor plots of land being used for experimental purposes while Casa Silva conducts a deeper study of the DNA of Carmenere with the help of one of the Max Planck Institutes. Cloning techniques are also being studied.
Casa Silva’s ‘Micro Terroir Carmenere’ 2008 is a 100% Carmenere red wine, produced from several of these pre-selected micro-plots of between 0.1 and 0.4 hectares, all from Casa Silva’s Los Lingues Estate at the foot of the Andes Mountains.
The winery also has a vineyard in Patagonia, the farthest south (by 350 km) of any Chilean winery.
Casa Silva is 100% sustainable, working under the Chilean Code of sustainability, covering vineyards, cellas and HR.
Distributor here is Barry & Fitzwilliam.