Odfjell Orzada Carignan Valle del Maule, Chile 2017

Deep ruby, almost black color; strawberry, plum, vanilla on the nose; plum, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, licorice on the palate.

Odfjell Orzada Carignan Valle del Maule, Chile 2017

Dry; big fruit, bold flavors, dense in the mouth. No oak—finished only in stainless steel. Mild tannins you expect from carignan, similarly mild acidity. Easy drinker. Carignan had a reputation as a hearty, drought-resistant grape that only made so-so wine. Greater attention to wine making and old vines changed minds. Odfjell was part of that turnaround.

Concentrated flavors, including some smoke and chocolate on the finish. All grapes organically and biodynamically farmed. All Odfjell vineyards are certified annually by Ecocert and Demeter. Grapes were hand-picked and destemmed but not crushed. Whole berries underwent four-day cold maceration, then fermented in 10,000-liter tanks, followed by 10 days of post fermentation maceration—thus the inky color. Malolactic fermentation was spontaneous, delivering smoothness that plays well with the massive fruit; 15% ABV.

Orzada is the Spanish word for “sailing into the wind.” Odfjell believes they sailed against the wind with their attention to old-vine carignan. The website notes: “Our winemaking style started with the discovery of a centenary-old organic vineyard that grew lost in Cauquenes, on the Tres Esquinas estate. Planted with a patrimonial variety that has forged Odfjell‘s identity and defined the character of all its wines. These bush-trained Carignan vines have allowed Chile to rediscover a variety, a culture, and ancestral traditions. And have led us to make a wine that unsettles and goes beyond conventions, expressing a friendlier and more feminine side of Carignan.”

Odfjell Vineyards: Dan Odfjell, Dan Odfjell fr, Laurence W. Odfjell
foto: bjørn erik larsen • www.bel.no

The Odfjell operation is the dream of Norweigian ship magnate Dan Odfjell. The website explains: “Over 25 years ago, the pioneering Norwegian Armador, (ship owner) Dan Odfjell discovered and fell in love with a small corner of the famous Maipo Valley, Chile. Born of rain in Bergen, Norway, he could not resist the attraction of the austral sun in this Virgilian setting. Today, the business is led by Dan’s sons, Laurence and Dan Jr., who actively participate in the promotion of the vineyard’s wines in international markets and are also part of the board of directors for Odfjell Vineyards S.A.”

Odfjell Armador winemaker Arnaud Hereu

The winery emphasizes sustainable agriculture and community responsibility. More than 80% of Odfjell employees live in areas surrounding the winery. The company prioritizes hiring local workers, and 14 houses in the vineyards are offered to employees and their families. They partner with the Padre Hurtado municipality, particularly with social programs. That includes collaborating by lending the winery’s gentle Fjord horses to use in therapies to help develop children with disabilities—visit the website for information that inspirational story.

Gonzalo Gómez is the managing director, Arnaud Hereu the winemaker. Hereu is in charge of Odfjell winemaking and active in the “Programa de Viñas” (Vineyards Program) of the Institute of Agricultural Development (Indap). That organization supports small farmers seeking to improve the quality of their wines. In recent competition, the wine from a producer aided by Hereu won the top prize in the “peasant wines” category.

Odfjell Orzada Carignan Valle del Maule, Chile 2017 is a rich, bold, affordable and approachable carignan. Big in the mouth, big alcohol, wrapped in a smooth, easy drinking package. Carignan goes well with smokey meats; cinnamon-based sauces; richer meat, vegetable, and cheese fare; grilled steaks; beef brisket; rich poultry; pork roast; lamb; butternut squash; eggplant; roasted leek; gouda, young manchego cheeses. $20-23

Odfjell Orzada website

Odfjell Armador vineyard and winery
Odfjell Armador harvest
Odfjell Armador old vines