Fermented Grape

how wine is produced

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Falernia Carmenere Reserva Elqui Valley 2007 Chile

Drunk July 2012

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The winery

Viña Falernia was founded in 1998 by Aldo Olivier Gramola. The Aldo Olivier’s family was originally from a small village in northern Italy (Trentino Region) called Dimaro. In 1951 Aldo’s father (Don Lino) decided to leave the country to move to Chile in May 1951 taking advantage of a development deal between Italy and Chile. The family arrived in the Coquimbo / La Serena region.

Aldo got married and he changed from La Serena to a small village located in Elqui Valley, called El Tambo, part of the Vicuña common.  The Falernia project was born in 1995 after he met his cousin Giorgio Flessati, an oenologist working in the Trentino region of northern Italy. 

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Viña Falernia is located in the Elqui Valley between La Serena and Vicuña, 520 km (323 miles) to the north of Santiago and it is at present Chile’s northernmost wine estate. 

The soils in Falernia vineyards are composed partly of rubble which has eroded from the Andes mountains and deposited by glaciers and wind, and partly of alluvial sand and silt deposited by the river. While stony, gravely soils are regarded as poor for most crops, their excellent drainage qualities make them perfect for wine growing. The climate is semi-arid (average annual rainfall is 80-100 mm) making drip irrigation indispensable during the spring and summer months. The vineyards benefit from currents of cold air which descend from the high mountains at night., causing a dramatic contrast between day and night time temperatures during the ripening season, from 27-32°C (80.6-89.6°F) to 10-12°C (50-53.6°F). 

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The wine

The Falernia Carmenere Reserve 2007 grapes are from vineyards located in the Vicuña area called “Rio” at an elevation of 1700 feet and were hand-picked very late in the growing season (beginning of June). 

What is interesting is that the grapes were partially dried in a style similar to Italian Amarone, which concentrates and intensifies the flavours. The wine was aged in American oak for 6 months. 

This is an incredible velvety wine with lots and lots of layers of flavour. Balanced tannins, fruit and acidity make it especially rewarding with red meat. Due to the drying process of the grapes, it shares many characteristics in common with Amarone which is one of my favourite styles of wine. Falernia also produce an excellent Shiraz and Shiraz/Carmenere reserve blend. Highly recommended.