Chile has a long history of winemaking for a New World wine region dating back to the colonization by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. It were the Spanish who brought viticulture to Chile but in present-day French varieties proved more successful in this country of startling contrasts than Spanish ones. In today’s article, we take a closer look at Chilean winery Emiliana Vineyards which was named winery of the year 2015 by Wines of Chile at the annual Chilean Wine Awards.
Who would have thought that the world’s largest organic winery is from Chile? To be honest, I was surprised when I found out that this honor goes to Emiliana Vineyards, one of my favorite Chilean wineries.
Founded in 1986 by the Guilisasti family, the winery grew rapidly over the last three decades and today owns more than 800 hectares of certified organic vineyards in Chile’s most important wine regions out of which they produce 580,000 cases of organic wine. The current lead winemaker is Álvaro Espinoza.
Emiliana’s wines are exported to no less than 60 countries. The Guilisastis are one of Chile’s most influential winemaking families. Next to Emiliana Vineyards, they also own Concha y Tora, one of the country’s largest wineries.
In order to produce such large quantities of organic and biodynamic wine, Emiliana has built separate winemaking facilities in the Colchagua Valley and the Maipo Valley. Their headquarters are, however, located far from the countryside and are found in downtown Santiago de Chile. Below is a map which shows the locations of the winery’s vineyards.
Naturally, such a large winery has a number of different lines, mainly for marketing purposes, out of which Adobe Reserva, Signos de Origen, Coyam and Gê are the most important ones.
Adobe Reserva is the winery’s basic line. In Chile and in many other New World wine countries, including the US, the term ‘reserve wine’ has no legal meaning. It is often used as part of a marketing strategy. Old world wine countries like Spain, Italy and Austria regulate the term “reserve wine” to ensure that a winery isn’t allowed to label their basic wines as something they are not: Reserve wine.
In Emiliana’s case, the Adobe Reserva line consists exclusively of very young white, red and rosé wines. All of them are varietally labeled and in total, there are ten wines in the Adobe Reserva line. These are entry-level wines which retail for under €10.
Note to the U.S. readers of Vino in Love: In the United States, the Adobe Reserve line is marketed as ‘Natura‘ because Adobe is a registered trademark of a software company. So if you intend to buy one of Emiliana’s Adobe wines then look for Natura instead.
Signos de Origen
This is a quality line of four red and one white wine. The grapes undergo a stricter selection and the wines offer more complexity than those of the Adobe Reserva line. The idea of the Signos de Origen line is to produce wines which represent their terroir very well. The wines sell for 15-20 Euro.
Emiliana Vineyards’ top blend is called Gê. This complex wine is a blend of hand-picked Carmenere and Syrah with small amounts of other French varieties. The exact blend varies each vintage. After 10 day fermentation, the wine undergoes an expected maceration process of up to 35 days. Afterwards. Gê ages for 16 months in French oak.
Gê comes with a heavy price tag of €55. The wine is produced in limited quantities and is sparsely available compared to Emiliana Vineyard’s other wines.
Emiliana’s most acclaimed wine is Coyam – a wine that Emiliana has been producing since 2001. Like Gê, it is a blend of French up to six French varieties with Syrah making up at least 30% of the blend. The grapes are all grown in the Los Robles Vineyards in the Colchagua Valley and are hand-harvested. They are among the winery’s finest grapes.
All grapes are vinified separately and then age for 18 months in French barrique barrels. Coyam has a good aging potential and is available in the 20-25 Euro price range.
I’ve had the pleasure of tasting Emiliana’s wines on many occasions and even hosted a few tastings with their wines in Munich before. Below are my tasting notes for some of their wines to give you an impression of what Emiliana is all about.
2015 Emiliana – Adobe Reserva Chardonnay – Casablanca Valley D.O.
Straw yellow color in the glass.
The nose is of medium intensity and opens with citrus aromas and green apples, followed by a floral touch.
Light-bodied, uncomplicated Chardonnay,with a medium acidity. Quaffable but not too exciting. Decent length.
2014 Emiliana – Adobe Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Rapel Valley D.O.
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Merlot. Vinified in stainless steel tanks in which 80% of the wine also ages. The remaining 20% age in French oak for half a year. 14.5% ABV.
Ruby red color with violet hues in the glass.
Fruit-driven nose with raspberries and strawberries aromas, as well as a touch of leather and cocoa.
In the mouth, dry with strong tannins and present acidity. Bright red fruit. The ABV is notable on the palate. Medium length.
2014 Emiliana – Adobe Reserva Syrah – Central Valley D.O.
Deep ruby red color in the glass.
Aromatic with lots of berries on the nose, especially mulberries and blackcurrant. Cherry, pepper and vanilla become notable as the wine evolves in the glass.
On the palate, dry and mineral with a mouthwatering acidity. Full-bodied with strong, powerful tannins and flavors of ripe red fruit, especially raspberries. Medium-long aftertaste. Amazing low-budget wine.
2013 Emiliana – Signos de Origen Syrah – Casablanca Valley D.O.
This is a blend 98% Syrah and 2% Viogneer. 54% of the wine aged for 13 months in barrique barrels, 32% in large oak casks and 14% in concrete vats.
Deep violet color in the glass.
Complex nose with lots of layers. There is a heavy aroma of black plums and mulberries, a bit of viola, smoke, dark chocolate and a touch of vanilla.
In the mouth, the wine is wonderfully harmonious. Medium-full-bodied and smooth. Notes of licorice and a bit of red fruit. This Syrah has a good depth, richness and come with a long-lasting aftertaste.
2011 Emiliana – Coyam – Colchagua Valley D.O.
Beautiful dark ruby red color with purple shades.
Highly intense nose with a harmonious mix of dark fruit, spices and earth. Blackberries and blackcurrant are most dominant.
Coyam is a complex, medium-full-bodied Bordeaux-blend. Flavors of cocoa, bright red fruit and oak-spices. The wine has well-integrated round tannins, a good depth and a medium acidity. Persistent aftertaste.
The Adobe Reserva line does not pop any fireworks but the Syrah is great, especially for that price. Their Chardonnay is not my type of wine and the Cabernet was alright. Coyam, of course, is in another league and always a pleasure going back to. Another thing I love about Coyam so much is that it is a very food friendly wine. The Signos de Origen Syrah from Chile’s Casablanca Valley is a beautiful expression of the Syrah grape.
Emiliana Vineyards may be the largest organic winery in the world but they still produce quality wines – Coyam and Signos de Orgien Syrah are proof of that.
Have you tried any of Emiliana’s wines? I’d love to read your opinion on them. Cheers!