2020 Harvest at Santa Rita Estates, the earliest vintage of the last 20 years28 de April de 2020
Santa Rita Estates, that joins the Santa Rita, Carmen and Sur Andino wineries in Chile, recently published its 2020 Harvest Report, explaining the main characteristics of the season and its influence on the different valleys and varieties.
April 2020.- As the earliest vintage of the last twenty years, the harvest that begun in February and ended in mid-April will most certainly be among the most remembered, also for the challenging context in which it developed.
The 2019-2020 season was warmer than the historic average and the previous season, with an extreme deficit of winter precipitation as well as throughout the growth and maturation periods, which facilitated the production of healthy grapes. According to Gerardo Leal, Viticultural Manager at Santa Rita Estates, “the phenological stages were completed early, including the sugar maturation, although with a lower potential alcohol level, which accelerated the onset of harvest by 15-20 days”.
The initial yields (number of bunches and berries) were good in accordance with the favorable weather conditions. These, however, were reduced by two main factors: the effects of frosts in some valleys (Casablanca and Palmilla) and, on the other hand, significant water restrictions in some valleys, such as Maipo, Casablanca, Colchagua, and Curicó. The latter due to scarce rainfall during winter and the low irrigation conducted because this lack if water. All this caused a loss of volume in the berries, resulting in decrease in yields in all but the properties where we could irrigate during the winter.
As for grape varieties, winemaker Sebastián Labbé, in charge of the Ultra Premium lines of Santa Rita, especially highlighted the Cabernet Sauvignon from Alto Jahuel, in the Maipo Valley: “2020 was a great year for Cabernet Sauvignon. In general, the Cabernet Sauvignon wines have fresh fruit and floral notes recalling violets. It has tremendous natural balance between the alcohol and the acidity, which ensures a long life for the wines of this vintage”.
In addition, he commented on “The 2020 vintage offered remarkable conditions for Carmenere of Apalta, in the Colchagua Valley. It was all harvested in March, with good levels of ripeness and an excellent balance between alcohol and acidity. This balance does not occur every year, so we truly celebrate vintages like this one”.
On the other hand, Emily Faulconer, Chief Winemaker of Viña Carmen, referred to the White varieties, noting, “The Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley moved its harvest date up by approximately one month. We harvested at different harvest times to obtain greater complexity and diverse profiles. The results are very attractive, with a balance between fresh herbal aromas and the citrus notes contributed by those blocks with greater ripeness. The palate offers tremendously fresh and piercing acidity and low pH”. Regarding the Limarí Valley Chardonnays, she added “The grapes for the base of the sparkling wine were harvested a week earlier than planned, and the grapes for still wines were picked 10–15 days early, depending on the sector. The results for this variety are exceptional, and the wines are tense, austere, and elegant. The palate offers tremendous length and verticality and shows many saline flavors within the balance”.
To know more details of the 2019-2020 harvest, please see here.
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