THE CLOS APALTA WINERY TOUR by Asst Wine Marker/Brand Ambassador Diego Urra Gosselin was spectacular. First on my provided personal agenda, I was greeted by an invitation to a four course lunch paired with Lapostolle Wines with Diego prepared by my very own Chef Christian Gomez. Now, let me start with telling you that the food served at the Lapostolle Residences is extraordinary. Every detail to creating a gorgeous meal is taken by one of 3 most talented chefs, all Chilean. That being said, it is not the food that is the center of attention, but the wine. Therefore, as requested by Madame Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle, the seasonings allowed are mostly salt, peppar and oregao. NO garlic is allowed. That would get in the way of the main attraction and your palate, the wines!
Some LAPOSTOLLE wine factoids:
- FRENCH IN BIRTH, CHILEAN in Nature-many vines came from French Origin
- · 200,000 cases total production from the entire Lapostolle winery.
- Production average of 4,500 cases of Clos Apalta.
- Borobo between 250 to 400 cases-not available in the USA
About 75% red wines (tinto)
About 25% white (blanco) wines
- There are 3 Lapostolle Vineyards in Chile-
- Atalayas Vineyard (in the Casablanca Valley)
- Las Kuras Vineyard (in Cachapoal Valley)
- Clos Apalta (Colchagua Valley)
We began dining by sipping Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2011 paired with "white cheese, cherry tomato and basil, salmon caviar over avocado puree and tomato brunoise. And also served were piping hot,cheese and chive empanaditas.
Then we savored spicy shrimp and leaf salad paired with one of my most favorite, Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay 2009. The winery has created a new label for the Cuvee Alexandre wines, a new purple that Diego calls "more stylish and attractive to the consumers."
Then, I marveled at the namesake wine, Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2009. I describe this sipping delicacy as a stunning masterpiece, served best, slightly chilled. The sophisticated wine was paired with a steak served with Lapostolle based Carmenere sauce and potato & pumpkin millefleur and roasted vegetables. The steak, well, it could be cut with a spoon, delightful and elegant served medium rare. To those looking for the Clos Apalta wine, it
Dessert, I was treated to the Late Harvest 2007, a rare wine, only two barrels made.
Oh and we savored a Bombon de Quinoa with vanilla ice cream and a rose sauce.
Next, after gathering our balance, (smile) we were off to tour the actual winery known as Clos Apalta. Spiraling down underground 6 levels, the wine tour was an intimate detail or how this world renown wine is produced step by step. Each floor or "paso" represents a stage of the process.
Stage 1: The process is entirely organic, including hand-stemming the grapes no machines are used. The machines used in other winery processes are replaced at Clos Apalta with 60 women who, do by hand, in an average of 28 hours, what a machine would do in 3 hours. The grapes, after being picked, stemmed, selected and separated, are placed in a portable tank, known as R2D2, (seen left) that transports the grapes to its next stage, in lieu of a pump system. 1-2 year aging, modern french cave, all granite floors throughout. The winery has an avid attention to integrating the environment, nature into all of its work and lifestyle.
Stage 2: Fermentation in a French oak tank. The masuration process takes two weeks time where the skin and seeds are separated from the the wine. The stage 2 fermentation area is kept wet and humid, keeping the oak wood wet in the room containing 21 enormous vats.
Stage 3: 1 year aging- each vat is separated creating "lots".
Stage 4: 1 year blended wines
Stage 5 final blend
Stage 6 bottling, embodying sum of all stages into the Case/House of Lapostolle/Apalta.
The roof of the winery houses the residences herb garden. That being said, any herb or salad prepared on the menus comes from the vineyard itself, another nod to organic. That includes the home grown artichokes I got the honor of picking with winemaker Andrea Leon-(more of that tomorrow)
From the wine tour, Diego whisked me off to the Conference Tasting Room. And, with 14bottles and 14 wine g, the glorious day continued!
Did I mention I had arrived in the country simply 6 hours before and took a 2 hour drive south to this paradise?
Well, at this tasting I met BO RO BO- a wine, only available in Chile, a gastronomic, gorgeous, velvety, blended masterpiece! I also loved the vertical tasting of a 2004 and 2008 Merlot-the 04 was fabulous, ready to drink surprise. I learned, in 2004, it was one of the first wines marketed by the winery and a game changer for the brand. Thank you Madame Alexandra for sharing your private stock of the vintage!
Coming Next-a special day with Wine Maker-Andrea Leon-from vineyards to Grand Marnnier Tasting
October 21-My Arrival To Lapostolle/Clos Apalta Wine Region:
My arrival to the Colchagua Valley to the Lapostolle Vineyard Estate, known as Lapostolle Residences, a Relais & Chateau flagship since 2008, was nothing short of a budding oenophiles Cinderella experience. As I explained below, I met Madame Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle during her recent visit to Baltimore. She came to America to see and meet the people that helped build One Eyed Mike's, a pub and tavern in Baltimore, Maryland, as the leading single-unit venue of Grand Marnier than any spot of its type in the WORLD. At this location, in my beloved hometown, Mme. Marnier Lapostolle her team learned of my great love of her brand and exposure I had given on various avenues, personally invited me to be her guest at a private Cassita (MERLOT) Clos Apalta during my upcoming philanthropy visit to Chile. My adventure to the Garden of Eden was born.
The trip to Chile was pretty easy using DELTA and AMERICAN EXPRESS miles: a 2-hour flight from Baltimore-Atlanta, an a 9.5 hour flight from Atlanta to Santiago (Lunesta helped me along). At baggage claim in Santiago, as planned by the Residences of Lapostolle, sporting a Lapostolle baseball cap, was Renato Hildago (seen left with his sister, Catalina, part of Lapostolle Residences Hospitality Staff greeting my arrival). Renato picked me up and escorted me on the 2 hour journey south the the Colchagua Valley, home of the 280 acres estate at Clos Apalta Winery and the Residences of Lapostolle.
Leaving the early Fall weather of the East Coast USA behind, I entered Chilean "primavera" aka Springtime and was it ever delightful, desert-dry 70 degrees, perfect grape growing Spring weather. Many of Chile’s current grapes were planted from French roots in the early 19th century, when it was fashionable to bring grapevines over from Europe Though grapes were planted and wines were produced in Chile as early as the 1550’s, making it the oldest wine-producing country in the Americas. Thanks to Chile’s geographic isolation by the oceans of Andes and Pacific, as well as the characteristics of its soil and climate, many say that the wines produced here are the world’s purest expressions of these varietals.
Clos Apalta, home to the gastronomic wines of Lapostolle is located at the southernmost portion of the Rapel Valley, one of Chile’s best known wine regions earned multiple full-body, velvety, rich Cabernet, Carménère, Syrah. The Close Apalta Winery is one unique example of Chilean bio-science perfection.
The Clos Apalta organic vineyards and winery are a stunning definition of what can come with intense response of attention to detail taken, every detail has a reason and purpose with no expense spared. Thus, Clos Apalta is on the International map by creating an exquisite organically grown and produced, product.A product that Wine Spectator named #1 Wine of 2005-Clos Apalta.
Tomorrow To Come:
THE CLOS APALTA WINERY TOUR by Asst Wine Marker Diego Urra Gosselin, A Tour of the Vineyards with Winemaker Andrea Leon and a Grand Marnier Tasting in petite chocolate cups to top off the day.
Cheers until then.
A most grateful palette,
CEO/Chief Bottle Washer/Sipper- CITYPEEK.com
October 20, 2011
CHILE, South America
I am off to Chile today, 1st stop, Santiago Airport from there, being picked up by car service and taken to Chile's Colchagua Valley, just south of Santiago to a most fabulous retreat for wine lovers and the lovers of grand luxury worldwide. Residences of Lapostolle, a Relais & Chateuax property.
With extraordinary views of the Apalta vineyards and the surrounding mountains, the Residences of Lapostolle is home to Clos Apalta/ Casa Lapostolle winery founded and owned by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, Louis-Alexandre’s great-granddaughter and her husband, Cyril de Bournet (both seen below with Michale Maraziti) and Don José Rabat Gorchs. Today, Lapostolle is 100% owned by the Marnier-Lapostolle group.
Casa Apalta is a revolutionary winery solely dedicated to the production of Lapostolle's world-class icon wine, Clos Apalta, the flagship wine of Casa Lapostolle which is owned by the makers of the orange and brandy flavored Grand Marnier. The winery founded by the Marnier Lapostolle family from France and the Rabat family from Chile in 1994.
Clos Apalta winery is 100% gravity-fed spanning six levels (seen left from the interior upstairs), four of which are buried into the granite of the Apalta hillside to provide a natural cool temperature environment for cellaring and aging. This rare vertical design allows the wine to flow naturally downward during every stage of the production, avoiding the need to pump, which can adversely affect the subtle flavors of the wine.
Much more to follow on my adventure as I travel far away from home, my beloved dogs and friends. Lapostolle winery is located in the town of Cunaco, right next to Santa Cruz. It is the original winery, where Lapostolle was founded in 1994 and today it is where Casa and Cuvée Alexandre wines are produced.
On an aside, I had the great pleasure to meet Ms. Alexandra during her recent visit to Baltimore, MD, home of ONE-EYED MIKE's, the bar that sells more Grand Marnier than ANY other single unit venue in the WORLD! Ms Alexandra and her husband Baltimore, Maryland were in town for the International launch unveiling what is to become one of the world's most exclusive spirit products of ALL time, QUINTESSENCE. This new Grand Marnier product, is double distilled in French oak is loaded with special grapes from Cognac, where Master Distiller, Patrick Raguenaud's family has rooted itself since 17th Century, It is both exclusive and expensive. Read the whole article Here.
Welcome to CITYpeek Patti's FOOD & WINE/Spirits Blog. Come journey along with our CITYPEEK CEO, Patti Neumann, as she nibbles, sips and shares her taste buds as she travels round the world.
FACEBOOK: "Like" CITYPEEK Patti
TWITTER Follow: @citypeekpatti