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Country: Chile  Region: Leyda Valley  Grape: Pinot Noir

Leyda Valley is a small sub-region of the San Antonio Valley wine region in Chile, located about 55 miles west of Santiago, Chile’s capital. This cool climate region enjoys the effects of the cold Humboldt Current of the Pacific Ocean and produces bright, vibrant wines; especially Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.

It is a relatively new wine growing area. The first vineyards were established in the 1900’s. But it is rapidly gaining a reputation for high quality viticulture. José Canepa, an Italian immigrant, purchased Hacienda El Condor Estate, the producers of Millaman wines, in 1946. In 1998 he revitalized the operation and built a state-of-the-art winery. (The name Millaman comes from the language of the indigenous Mapuche people. It means “Golden Condor,” a symbol of Chile and the Andes.)

Made of 100% Pinot Noir, all the grapes are Estate grown from low yield vines with a controlled deficit irrigation regime. Aged in used oak barrels for four months, it was then filtered and bottled, a beautiful red color with violet hints. It is elegant and balanced, with aromas of bright red fruits combined with spicy and floral notes. On the palate it is soft and round, with good body and pleasant acidity for a tasty, pleasant finish. Enjoy it now, served slightly chilled, with grilled Chilean Sea Bass, chicken with peas, or medium cheeses.

PINOT NOIR GRAPES — Pinot Noir grapes are finicky and challenging to grow, but the resulting Pinot Noir wine can be one of the greatest wines available. Widely grown, production is limited due to this grape’s pickiness regarding climate and soil. Flavors and aromas can be very red-berry-fruity, or woodsy and earthy. Not usually blended, but outstanding when it is.

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Tracie Burket
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