Chocalan is a medium sized family owned winery based in what is technically the Maipo valley – a large area that largely surrounds Santiago. Most of the wineries are based close to the city or on the western side of the region either on the flat vineyards of the central valley or moving up into the foothills of the Andes.
Chocalan are situated at the Western edge of Maipo, closer in many ways to San Antonio just to the west than Santiago and the big wineries there to the East and importantly to the West of much of the coastal range of mountains (there are still some large hills between the coast and vineyards). This allows cool Pacific breezes to moderate the climate allowing a longer growing season but with a retention of acidity which gives wines that are less jammy and more elegant than many from the region.
We started with a small tasting of wines from their second property in San Antonio, Malvilla which are not yet available in the UK but which seem to show masses of potential – these are wines to watch over the next 5 years.
Malvilla Sauvignon Blanc 2013, San Antonio
Fresh with lovely purity and focus – good length and texture. Ripe fruit but with plenty of acidity. Really rather good – ripe aromatic and fine.
Malvilla Chardonnay 2013, San Antonio
American clone of Chardonnay fermented in 40% new oak and matured for 6-8 months with no malolactic fermentation. The first thing I notice (or not) having been told about all the oak is that it is really beautifully retrained and understated. Lovely ripe citrus fruit, terrific mouthfeel with real precision. This is quite complex and very drinkable indeed. Really very good.
Then we moved on the wines from Chocalan (Inspira are a 2nd label for their entry level wines.)
Inspira Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Fresh, clean pure, aromatics nicely restrained and not overblown. Tart green fruit and just hints of perfume and fragrance. It is pretty simple and not hugely concentrated.
Chocalan Seleccion Sauvignon 2013
Fresh and textural with lovely aromatics. Nice fruit purity good length and typicity. Well made and enjoyable with good concentration.
Inspira Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Very soft texture and a bit flabby. Nice fruit with some green bell pepper and pencil lead notes. A touch too green for me though and lacks real depth of texture.
Chocalan Carmenere Seleccion 2012
Lovely leafy brambly fruit with good freshness and just a little bit of texture. If I’m going to criticise it then perhaps it is a little bit short in the finish but I really enjoyed the fruit, aromas and texture of this. Good.
Chocalan Syrah Seleccion 2013
Tight and textural, it is very immature but shows good levels of concentration and acidity with lovely pure, perfumed aromatic fruit.
Reserve Carmenere 2012
This is really textural and aromatic with really lovely fruit aromas. It has good length and concentration – fine and balanced. Very decent Carmenere.