Odfjell, Armador Merlot, Maipo, Chile, 2021
One of the best boutique organic wineries in Chile, Odfjell Vineyards are committed to producing wines with elegance and poise, from their vineyards in the Maipo, Lontué and Maule valleys.
As one of the founding members of Chilean Organic Winegrowers, Odfjell’s certified organic, biodynamic and sustainable portfolio consists of superlative old vine Carignan, in addition to more traditional varieties and blends. Cover crops and beehives amongst the vineyards aid biodiversity, whilst small Fjord horses work the land. Established by Norwegian, Dan Odfjell, with winemaking now in the very capable hands of Francisca Palacios (who takes over from Arnaud Hereu after 25 years at the winery). The two worked together on vintages since 2019, and with Francisca’s meticulous approach, work with native yeasts and deft touch, the wines of Odfjell will no doubt continue to grow in terms of quality and reputation over the coming years.
The grapes come from a historic vineyard in Padre Hurtado in the lower Maipo Valley at an altitude of 405 meters above sea level. The clay soils have a neutral pH and are of alluvial origin from the Maipo River basin. The soil is deep with good drainage, which helps control plant vigour for excellent fruit load with small clusters and berries. The climate is Mediterranean with an average annual rainfall of 250–300 mm, and the daily temperature differential is 20°-25° C. All of these factors plus the coastal influence work together to enable fruit ripening. The vineyard is certified organic and biodynamic and managed accordingly.
The grapes were hand picked and were not crushed on reception at the winery; the clusters were only de-stemmed. The whole berries had four to five days of cold maceration at 14ºC prior to fermentation and eight to ten days of maceration at 25ºC after fermentation. Native and selected yeasts were used during the fermentation, which took place in small tanks of 40,000 Lts. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation took place in tanks.
No oak ageing
Intense garnet red in colour with a violet hue. The nose is ripe but fresh, with fruity notes recalling black cherries and plums along with a bit of menthol, while notes of spices such as nutmeg appear on the backdrop. The palate is juicy, and the tannins are robust and velvety, leading with notes of blackberries and chocolate on the lingering finish.
Fennel sausage and mash, macaroni cheese, meatloaf.
Cabernet Sauvignon 15%
12 x 75cl
Award: Tim Atkin Chile 2022 Special Report 93 Points