Vina Ventisquero’s vertical tasting reinforces the green

Chilean wine producer Viña Ventisquero, whose best-known brand here is Yali, held what it called a vertical tasting in the Morrison Hotel, Dublin, last month. Its winemaker, Alejando Galaz, was in Europe for the London Wine Fair.

 Viña Ventisquero winemaker Alejando Galaz was in Europe for the London Wine Fair recently.

Viña Ventisquero winemaker Alejando Galaz was in Europe for the London Wine Fair recently.

The name Ventisquero means ‘a corrie’, a snow-trap hollow in the mountains and the company is now in the Top 10 Chilean wine exporters.

Often a vertical tasting is of wines of differing vintages, but this one was of 14 different Yali offerings.

There’s a strong green message in the marketing, with the slogan ‘Wines that don’t cost the earth’ and publicity showing how they help to preserve wetlands. Boutique winery this is not: quite the opposite. Headquarters is in the Maipo valley and it cultivates 1,750 hectares in grapes. It grows all its own grapes allowing it to control the leaf-canopy and therefore the alcohol content of the wines.

It’s also very involved in developing lightweight glass bottles (a 12 per cent reduction) to save freight costs and hence CO2 emissions and it has linked in with promotions like World Environment Day (5th June).

It exports 85 per cent of production to 67 different countries and is 14th in terms of best-selling Chilean brands here having been going just two years or so. Very much a newcomer (founded only in 1998) it’s part of a food industry conglomerate with other divisions in groceries and olive oil. It uses the Yali name for off-trade and keeps Ventisquero for on-trade.

The Sauvignon Blanc (RRP €12.99) was on offer for €8.49. It is selling through the multiples, but also through the Carry Out chain. At one €uro more it offers the Three Lagoons Gran Reserva from the Casablanca Valley.

In the reds, it showed a spirit of adventure with a 60/40 blend of Cabernet and Carménère (RRP €9.99) and a late harvest Carménère ’09, great value at the same price point. It also offered a Merlot and Syrah blend 85/15 barrel-aged (RRP €14.99) and a Yali limited-edition 2008 Carménère for €14.99. This one is restricted to the Carry Out chain.

Forthcoming premium wines (€26/€30 a bottle) include Héru, a Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley. Chilean thoroughness means the individual vines are marked using GPS technology and harvested for premium produce. Viña Ventisquero also promises a Syrah ’07 called Pangea and a Carménère/Syrah blend from the same year.


— John Brophy


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