The 2011 Clos Apalta is a blend from a cold vintage aged in 100% new barrels for about two years, depending on how they find the wine, and the wine that makes it into the bottle is a barrel selection. 2011 was a cool vintage, perhaps something between 2010 and 2013, warmer than the former, more moderate than the latter; it’s the freshest of all the vintages that I tried, with good acidity, finer tannins, density, freshness and finesse as well as very good balance and a silky texture. As for future vintages, the 2012 will be bottled earlier, as it was a warm vintage and needs less maturing in oak. The 2013, which is still very young and was pre-blended the day before my tasting with Michel Rolland, will be bottled a year from now and will be re-evaluated before being bottled, when the blend might be adjusted at the last minute. I also tasted an impressive new wine from very old vines that were traditionally blended into the Clos with a long aging in the T5 barrels from Taransaud. Drink 2016-2026.
I visited the impressive Lapostolle winery and vineyards on a warm day in Colchagua where I met the charming Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, who everybody calls simply “Madam.” The impressive six-level winery, built in an elliptic shape, is pure state of the art. The vineyards are planted at 6,660 vines per plant, which is the density of the old plantings from the 1920s. They started in 1995 and planted the same density in 1996. They took off with biodynamics in 2004, and converted 100% in 2006. Since 2011, they have been fully Demeter certified. Michel Rolland is the consultant here, mainly for the blends, not much for viticulture. The winery for Clos Apalta didn’t suffer any damage from the 2010 earthquake, but the other winery had big losses, so the modern construction showed extremely solid. I tasted extensively there, especially the top-of-the-range Clos Apalta, and while the 2011 showed fresher and more balanced than previous vintages, I often found over-aggressive wines with plenty of tannins that feel foursquare with years in bottle and don’t seem to develop much complexity or finesse. It’s as if the yields were perhaps too low or the wines had been too extracted. Accidentally, I had a Mourvedre and a Petit Verdot during a dinner that were a revelation, and I found the wines to be much fresher and better balanced. I asked for samples of these wines to taste, because I thought they were interesting and different. They are part of a small line of specialty wines they call Lapostolle Collection where, to be honest, I found the most exciting and drinkable wines from Lapostolle. Total production is around 200,000 cases of 12 bottles.
Importer: Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, IL; tel. (847) 604-8900, www.terlatowines.com