AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Clos Apalta
Wine region: Colchagua Valley
Standout points: Iconic wines; beautiful amphitheatre setting; century-old vines – the oldest in the region
Winemaker: Jacques Begarie
Wine style: Chilean terroir meets Bordeaux winemaking principles
A New World icon
In 1994, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, great-granddaughter of the creator of Grand Marnier, and her husband Cyril de Bournet embarked on a bold Chilean adventure. Arriving in Apalta in 1994, they discovered Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmènere vines on pre-phylloxera rootstocks dating back to 1915 and it was here, closely guided by Bordeaux-based consultant Michel Rolland, that they set about their task of producing world-class wines. Several 100-point scores later, they have become firmly established as a true New World icon.
The view from the nest
From the vineyards and winery of Clos Apalta, you may have the sense that you are just that bit closer to the sky. The nest-like winery is built into a landscaped amphitheatre in the entrance of the Apalta valley, providing an almost magical view of the region and the estate’s 60ha of (mostly pre-phylloxera) vines. Over six years, the seven floors of this conceptually ambitious building were excavated from the hillside rock. Thousand-year-old underground water courses were dug out along the hill while an immense granite wall was preserved to collect the runoff for use in the vineyards. A tour of the gravity-fed cellar gives visitors a great insight into the winemaking process, from the arrival of the grapes to their bottling, the ‘vertical’ trip, imitating the downwards flow of this water.
A hedonist’s retreat
Reflecting Clos Apalta’s iconic Clos Apalta and Le Petiti Clos wines and cellar, the Clos Apalta Residence offers the highest levels of quality and elegance. Individually decorated with reference to the grape varieties that make up the Clos Apalta cuvée, each room offers a breathtaking view of the estate vineyards and surrounding mountains. The residence also houses a gourmet restaurant showcasing the finest regional produce. For the most relaxing time, enjoy the infinity pool in summer and massages from the privacy of your own casita. And, if energy levels permit, there’s always the option of trekking, mountain biking or horse-riding through the vineyards and local native forests.