VIÑA MONTGRAS, located in Chile’s Colchagua Valley, was established in the early 1990s by brothers Hernán and Eduardo Gras, together with their business partner Cristián Hartwig. Santiago Margozzini serves as head winemaker, with renowned California winemaker Paul Hobbs serving as consultant.
Colchagua Valley, a serene sub-valley of Rapel, is situated in Chile’s Central Region at the heart of the country’s wine-producing zone. Nestled between the Pacific Coastal Range to the west and the snow-capped Andes to the east, this rustic valley is a protected environment with positive maritime influences that foster a terroir ideal for producing quality wines.
Five ranges of MontGras wines are available: Estate, Reserva, Quatro, Limited Edition, and Ninquén.
In 1996 MontGras, along with five other area wineries, founded the Colchagua Valley Wine Route to promote and facilitate tourism and educate the public about the traditions of Chilean winemaking. Guided tours and tastings at MontGras are available Monday through Friday year-round, by appointment only.
Learn More About Malbec
Malbec (MAHL-beck) Angel of Argentina
Originally a common grape in Bordeaux,
Malbec adds only a small percentage to the blends there. It has, however, found another region in which to flourish -the bourgeoning wine region of
In fact, Argentinians have adopted Malbec as their national grape!
Malbec is used in small amounts in Bordeaux
blends to add color and tannin. In Cahors, where it is also known as “cot,”
the grape makes wines there that are full bodied and able to mature – these wines
are dark and sometimes gamey, but delicious – they like to call it the "black" wine of Cahors.
But attribute its quick rise in popularity to Argentina. Here, Malbec has hit its stride – the grape produces
spicy wines reminiscent of blackberries and chocolate, with a velvety texture. Ranging from excellent value to higher-priced collectibles, Argentina has truly made this grape its own.
Summing it up
Successful sites:Argentina, Cahors, Bordeaux, some California
Common Descriptors: blackberry, plum, tobacco, spice, dark, full-bodied
Learn More About Chile, South America
Long and thin, Chile has a lot of land north to south. The wine region here is a series of districts based near Santiago. The vineyards are protected by the Pacific on the west and the Andes mountains on the east. This could help explain why the climate changes more from east to west than north to south – also why the country has remained phylloxera free. Quite a few wineries in Chile were founded by large French wine companies. Seeing the potential of the country, vineyards were bought and planted by these French folks and the results tell of a smart investment. Some of these wineries include: Los Vascos, Casa Lapostolle and Cousino Macul.
And while the inspiration may have been French, but the wines here are quite Chilean.
The main regions of Chile include Maipo (pronounced MY-poh), known for reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere; Casablanca Valley, a region producing delicious Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other whites & some
reds; Colchaugua, an inland district creating amazing red wines from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in the Apalta sub-region; and Rapel Valley, settled right under Maipo and producing the same red varietals. A couple of smaller regions to watch include Limari and Elqui, two valleys further north, producing some delicious cool-climate Chardonnay and Bio Bio, an area further south, which is also focused on cool-climate varieties. Chilean wines are growing in exports and more consumers are enjoying the delicious values coming from the country. Red wines of the region, though they cannot be generalized, make the whole gamut of wine quality – quaffable to collectible. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Carmenere are the main players, though Syrah is also making a splash. Some of the best reds are blends of the above varieties. As for whites, Sauvignon Blanc is typically crisp, herbal and racy, while Chardonnay is richer in style with full-bodied texture and tropical fruit flavors.