Don Maximiano 2017
Introduced with the 1983 vintage, Don Maximiano was among the first of the new generation of “Super-Chileans.” The flagship for the estate and a global symbol of how distinct and extraordinary the wines of Chile can be, this world class Cabernet oozes with irresistible fruit that is detailed, balanced and long.
Don Maximiano Errazuriz founded Viña Errazuriz in 1870 in the Aconcagua Valley, 65 miles north of the capital, Santiago. Recognizing that this valley, with its hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world-class vineyard. Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano’s descendant, Eduardo Chadwick.
The Don Maximiano vineyard is located in the Aconcagua Valley and the oldest among them are Max I, Max II and Max V blocks. The region has a long dry season with moderately warm summer days cooled by the soft evening breezes that enter the valley from the Pacific Ocean. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere vines were planted in 1978 and 1993, respectively, while the Petit Verdot was planted in 1999. The three vineyards that contribute grapes for Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve are planted on north or northeast facing hillsides with 5°–25° of slope. The soils are volcanic, colluvial and piedmont (Max I and II) or alluvial (Max V) in origin, with good drainage conferring low to moderate vigor.
The must was fermented in small-volume stainless steel tanks to maximize contact between the juice and the skins, using selected yeasts at temperatures that fluctuated between 75° and 82°F. Three daily pumpovers moved 0.5–1.5 times the volume of the tanks, depending on the level of extraction desired in each case. Total maceration time was 12 to 30 days. All of the lots were aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, 72% of which were new. Malolactic fermentation, clarification, and stabilization occurred naturally in the barrels.
Grape Varieties: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 8% Carmenere, 7% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc
The 2017 vintage in the Don Maximiano vineyard will be remembered by the hot temperatures recorded throughout the season. Nevertheless, the winery was able to manage this scenario favorably by a careful irrigation management in the vineyards, increasing the water supply during the hottest periods and by harvesting significantly earlier. In turn, the wines produced reflect the outstanding quality of terroir, balancing concentration, power and velvety tannins, along with freshness and fruit intensity.
The 2017 vintage of Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve captivates with aromas reminiscent of red fruits such as cherries and raspberries. Further back some nice notes of cocoa and clove appear, culminating with a slight oral hint that reminds of violets. Aligned with what is perceived on the nose, the palate offers cherries, raspberries and cassis flavors, plus the sweet notes of cocoa and clove. It is a generous wine, with good tension and juiciness that provide freshness, framed by mature tannins that marvelously surround the mouth, along with a long and very pleasant persistence.
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Petit Verdot
Environmentally friendly processes include using gravity instead of pumps to move wine, controlling temperatures with wind in underground ducts to avoid use of air conditioning, and using solar panels and special window glass to save energy.
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Advocate (93+) - “I like the austerity of the 2017 Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve—it's more reserved than the 2016, more discrete and less aromatic, with a lot of power on the palate. 2017 is a structured vintage, and the challenge was to find elegance, freshness and balance, as the weather was warm and dry. It's a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 8% Carmenere, 7% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc—a classical Chilean Bordeaux blend—with notes of black fruit, cassis and blackberry, serious and with better-integrated oak. They are very careful with the use of oak, using barrels that mark the wine less, especially in warm vintages, and using fewer new barrels. The wine has structure and tannin but also has the juiciness to balance it all.”
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