About Errazuriz Wines
Errazuriz wines like to describe themselves as the ‘Premier Family Wine estate of Chile’. One of the top Chilean wine brands in the UK, Errazuriz was established in 1870, and is still run by the family, with world renowned winemaker Eduardo Chadwick, flying the flag for the 6th generation.
Errazuriz own vineyards in four different regions, but their headquarters and main winery is where the company was first established, in the Aconcagua region, 100km north of Santiago. Errazuriz is widely considered the single top quality producer of Chilean wine, and their philosophy follows this. Having imported vines from Europe, and worked through generations to transform what was a barren land into the producer of world class wines, their motto is firmly ‘from the best land, the best wine’, and across all their wineries, Errazuriz follow a process of total control of the vinegrowing and vinification process, to ensure optimum quality.
Errazuriz focusses on quality rather than quantity, and occupies a more premium position in the UK market. The average price of Chilean wine has increased considerably in the last 5 years, and Chile is now positioned as top supplier of quality and consistent wines, particularly in the £7-£10 categories. Chilean wines have also grown at a steady level in the UK over the past 10 years, and now account for over 8% of all wine sales.
The History of Errazuriz
The Errazuriz estate was founded in 1870 by Don Maximiano, who purchased vineyards in the sub region of Panquehue, in the Aconcagua area, which was then a fairly barren land; Don Maximiano recognised the potential of the land, due to the cold, wet winters, and hot dry summers, which were perfect for vine growing, and, having imported the best clones of vines from France, he set about transforming the land into the premium wine region that is is today.
Don Maximiano was a descendant of Francisco Errazuriz, a Basque immigrant, who established the Errazuriz family as one of the most important in Chile, with links in the cultural, social and political world. From a very wealthy background, Don Maximiano married the daughter of the richest man in the country, and set about building businesses with him, initially in copper and then gas, both of which were extremely successful. After a period in politics, and the death of his first wife, he established his first vineyards, but ever the pioneer, did not plant near Santiago, like other producers, but in the undiscovered territory of the Aconcagua valley.
Through subsequent generations, the founder’s principles of belief in ‘terroir’, and that each different plot of land and climate contributes differently to the composition of the wine, have been upheld, with the family undertaking research, and ensuring that the best types of grapes for each vineyard and location are used. Errazuriz are also strong supporters of sustainability and green, environmentally friendly policies and strategies for their winemaking and distribution process.
The Aconcagua valley, with its proximity to the sea, enjoys colder nights, and a slower ripening process, with the vintage happening several weeks later, than vineyards south of Santiago. This, combined with the lack of rainfall (although irrigation is used), makes from more concentrated, characterful styles of wine.
The company now own 2 different vineyard plots in the Aconcagua valley, encompassing almost 460ha of vines, one for their red varietals, and the one ‘Manzanar estate’, closer to the ocean, for the more delicate Sauvignon and Pinot Noir varieties, as well as some Chardonnay. The company now also own vineyards in the premium cool climate region of Casablanca, famous for its top quality, fresh white wines, and also the warmer Maipo region, south of Santiago, where the ‘vinedo Chadwick’ estate, on land owned by Eduardo’s father, the late polo player Alfonso Chadwick, produces some of the company’s flagship reds.
The Errazuriz winery is still based at the original cellars in Panquehue and combines the tradition of the old winery, with a state of the art modern winery, which was upgraded in 2010, and includes gravity flow and open top fermenters, in addition to over 15,000 new barrels – this gives the winemakers the flexibility to continue to focus on achieving the very best quality across the range.
What Styles Of Wine Do Errazuriz Produce?
Errazuriz produces a wide range of varietal wines, across 3 main categories; estate wines; Don Maximiano reserve wines (from the locations and grapes), and a range of flagship wines.
A range of red, white and rose, from individual estates, including:
Whites – fresh, vibrant, pure expressions of fruit, including a zesty, stylish Sauvignon Blanc from the Aconcagua valley, and 2 different crisp, elegant Chardonnay, one unoaked, from the Casablanca valley.
Rose – vibrant, cherry fruit Cabernet Rose.
Reds – a range of expressive, fruit driven, full flavoured, and distinctive reds, including a currant, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, a ripe, plummy Merlot, and a herb and black fruit-scented Carmenere from the Aconcagua Valley; this range also features a more herbaceous style of Merlot from Curico and a ripe, rich, intense Cabernet from the Maipo valley.
Max Reserva Range
A range of top quality wines, produced from the very best grapes, on the best plots of land from the Don Maximiano and the La Escultra estates – wines with depth, concentration and elegance.
There is one white, the Max Reserva Chardonnay, rich, intense and powerful, yet with freshness and elegance.
This range is where the reds come into their own, with 4 rich, award winning, terroir driven, structured but stylish, with a great intensity of fruit – Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Merlot and Shiraz.
In 2004, at an international blind tasting in Berlin, attended by some of the world’s top wine writers, Vinedo Chadwick was placed first, ahead of some of the Old World’s most famous and reputed wines. This proved the potential that Chile had to offer as a source of premium wines, able to compete on the world stage.
Today Errazuriz produce a series of super premium wines, including Vinedo Chadwick, to showcase their ultimate statement in quality – the wines are mainly from the very best plots of the Aconcagua estate, all reds, and include Cumbre Shiraz, Don Maximiano Founders Reserve, and KAI Carmenere, all supreme examples of the power, concentration and complexity, that are hallmarks of the Errazuriz style.