Thursday, May 12, 2011

Viña Aquitania, Santiago, Chile

On April 21st, Robin and I visited Viña Aquitania on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. It's a rather small vineyard and winery, but with a pretty spectacular heritage. It was founded in 1990 by Bruno Prats and Paul Pontallier. Prats is the former winemaker and owner of Chateau Cos d'Estournel (, while Pontallier is the winemaker and CEO at Chateau Margaux (

Viña Aquitania and the smoggy Andes in the background. The gentleman walking down the path (low center of picture) is Felipe de Solminihac, the winery's CEO.

The visit was quick but memorable:  The production area was quite ordinary, and nothing jumped out at me as unique or interesting -- pretty basic stuff. They used a basket press to press the fermented must (vs. a pneumatic press), and they also sorted each cabernet cluster by hand, but that's typical for cabernet production.
In the barrel room, I noticed that they only stacked their barrels 2 high. I found that odd, because in California earthquake country, we stack 'em 6 or 7 high! Maybe they have the right idea and we're kinda dumb...  I don't know.

Viña Aquitania barrel room. It's quite small, as you can see.

The wine tasting, however, was pretty exceptional. We got to sample a 2000 Paul Bruno cab that tasted very peculiar. The fruit was completely gone, the color was that of tawny port, and it tasted of leather, tobacco, and dark chocolate.  Pretty cool, and quite a contrast with their more recent wines! It was one of those "love it or hate it" wines, and we both loved it.