2018 Concha Y Toro Amelia Chardonnay

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2018 Concha Y Toro Amelia Chardonnay

The 2018 Amelia Chardonnay is the second vintage in which they have used grapes from Limarí (grapes used to be grapes from Casablanca), and this wine was one of the revelations of my tasting with Concha y Toro's winemakers Marcelo Papa and Marcio Ramírez. It mixes grapes from two soils: one with more limestone than the other (Quebrada Seca) and a stonier one called Santa Cristina. They seem to have hit the nail on the head with this blend in the very good 2018 vintage. The wine comes through as serious and restrained and has a different grip on the palate. It has the sharpness of the limestone, with a little more volume, and it comes through as very complete, harmonious, long and wide, with a tasty, salty finish and great persistence. There is more complexity here than in the bottling from Maycas del Limarí. 12,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2019.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RP
This is a dense, layered chardonnay with cooked apples, white peaches and flowers. Full-bodied, yet tight with intense acidity. Punchy at the end. Mineral and stone undertones. Very complex. Drink or hold.

James Suckling | 94 JS
Quebrada Seca, in Limarí, boasts soils of granite and red clay with visible seams of limestone. Amelia was born in Bloques 3 and 9 which, in a cold year with the help of Burgundian knowhow, reaches a significant and seductive degree of sophistication: green apple and hazelnuts set the tone and establish a balanced structure that is both tight and expressive with a malic freshness that emphasizes the chalky texture and slightly dry feel on the tongue. Offers a lengthy finish and ample potential for the future.

Vinous Media | 94 VM
Creamy oak and vanilla aromas are up front and dominate the nose on this high-end Chardonnay from Limarí. Acid-driven freshness defines the palate feel, not resiny oak or sticky fruit, although this is definitely ripe throughout. Flavors of spiced apple and honeydew melon finish with lasting barrel notes. Drink now; this is in peak condition.

Wine Enthusiast | 92 WE

Wine Details on 2018 Concha Y Toro Amelia Chardonnay

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Producer Concha Y Toro
Region Chile: The long but narrow shape of the country can trick one into assuming there's not much room for diversity in winemaking between Chile's eastern and western borders, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. New regions and sub-regions are being discovered and classified even now due to the deeply nuanced landscape and climate within this country. Chile has won prizes for its breathtaking, opulent, rich, sophisticated wines that somehow still find ways to improve each year. Its winemaking tradition is long considering it's a New World wine region. Combined with modern styles and methods of production, the wines produced as a result encompass the best sides of both worlds.

Packed with fragrant fruit but supplemented by a herbal profile, these wines naturally seduce the harshest critics. Though the grapes grown in Chilean vineyards are generally international varieties like Chardonnay, Merlot, Carmenere, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, it's the specific terroir, growing conditions and unique culture that make Chilean wines stand out among the crowd. Chilean viticulture is still in its infancy, but its potential is now being revealed and the wines produced here are rapidly becoming a hit in the industry. Exuberant, complex, nuanced as they are bold, easily approachable yet hardly forgotten, wines like these cannot be found just anywhere.
Subregion Limari Valley
Appellation Mercurey
Climat/Vineyard Quebrada Seca Vineyard
Cru Premier Cru
Country Chile: As the world's seventh-largest wine producer, Chile has a lot to offer to wine adventurers such as yourself. More than twenty grape varietals commonly see use, and the environment and climate conditions of the country allow for flexible, experimental methods that make the wines that much more compelling. Interestingly enough, France's viticultural influence on Chile is greater than Spain's. Cabernet Sauvignon has recently become the most planted varietal in the region, although the unique Chilean terroir is still sensed in full force. If you're in the mood for something different, the mad scientists behind Chile's most reputable wineries are ready to impress.
Type of Wine Chile White: Chilean whites ask for very little on your part but deliver a level of quality that Dionysus himself would be jealous of. Whether we're talking about their acidic, mineral-infused, and zesty Chardonnay or their wonderfully rich, lemon-kissed Sauvignon Blanc, the region is a dream to explore. Prepare your senses for the time of their life, and enjoy.
Varietal Chardonnay: Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.

The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.

The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.

The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.

Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.

The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.

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