Viña Aquitania Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile 2017

Deep ruby color; blackberry, blackcurrant, plum, mint, leather, tobacco, oak on the nose; blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, black cherry, raspberry, on the palate.

Viña Aquitania Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile 2017

Dry; balanced moderate tannins and acidity (4.5 pH); medium body. Soft and velvety in the mouth—surprising for a 100% cab effort—but the blackcurrant puts a bite into it, especially on the mid-palate and finish. The wine’s name comes from the famed Chilean gemstone Lapis Lazuli because the wine is only made with superior vintages. 14.5% ABV

Manual harvest is followed by washing, drying, and de-stemming before six days of pre-fermentation maceration to bring out the color. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel for seven days with three pump-overs per day. Alcoholic fermentation is followed by a second maceration for up to a week. Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel. The wine then is held in small, 106-gallon French oak barrels, 33% new, 33% second use; 33% third use, for 16 months.

Viña Aquitania vineyard with Santiago in the background (from website)

Viña Aquitania is a joint venture. In 1984 Bruno Prats and Paul Pontallier, a famed agronomists from Bordeaux, began a search for a high-quality terroir in Chili to create a vineyard. They partnered with a mutual friend, Felipe de Solminihac, a Chilean agronomist with French roots. In 1990, the trio acquired about 45 acres in the Peñalolen within the city of Santiago in the historic heart of the Maipo Valley.

Viña Aquitania president Bruno Prats
Viña Aquitania partner Paul Pontallier
Viña Aquitania general manager Felipe de Solminihac

The winery was completed in 1993. In 2002, Ghislain de Montgolfier, an agronomist from Champagne and long-time friend of the founders, became the fourth partner. They soon dubbed themselves the “Four Musketeers.” Today, the second generation of the founders is taking control of the vineyard and commercial operation. José Manuel Peralta is the chief winemaker.

Viña Aquitania Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile 2017 is a polished effort to produce a Chilean pure cabernet sauvignon play. The result is a creamy, balanced cab from an international team of notable vintners. The blackcurrant bite/tartness might put off some, but it will please dark-fruit wine aficionados. Pair with lamb; beef—grilled steaks, beef stew; wild game, especially venison; pork, poultry; pizza and gourmet burgers; Asian stir-fry; roasted vegetables. Cheese—aged cheddar, gouda, gruyere, camembert. $35-44

Viña Aquitania website

Viña Aquitania director Ghislain de Montgolfier
Viña Aquitania chief winemaker José Manuel Peralta
Viña Aquitania winery and vineyard team