Celebrating Earth Day with Montes Wines on #SommChat

As you know today is Earth Day, a day that aims to inspire all citizens of earth to take action of awareness and appreciation of our global environment. There were many Earth Day festivals and marches over the past weekend in cities all over the earth. I participated in a week early Earth Day celebration by joining #SommChat to enjoy three delicious Montes Wines.

What is #SommChat? I’ll let its host The Keeper Collection explain:


#SommChat: Where #Sommeliers and #Wine Professionals will answer your toughest wine questions! Celebrate #WineWednesday by learning about Wine & other drinks we love!

You can join in the #SommChat conversation each Wednesday at 11am CST to explore and learn more about the world of wine.



To celebrate our beautiful earth and sustainable practices that are environmentally friendly we shared the #Sommchat hour with President and Chief Winemaker Aurelio Montes Sr. and three media samples of his wines shared with me by Feast PR. Mr. Montes shared in depth with us the dry-farming practices utilized by Montes in their Colchagua Valley vineyards. Due to “climate change and [lack of] water availability” Montes began six years ago researching and testing different forms of irrigation. In the Colchagua region of Chile, rainfall is less than 80mm during the spring and summer. As a result of dry-farming Montes saves 65% of the water they used to use in irrigation and, according to Senior Montes, the quality of the wines has improved. Montes currently has 250 hectares dry farmed and that number will continue to grow. Senior Montes explained, “Syrah is the most tolerant [of dry farming], Carmenere and Malbec are a bit trickier. The best dry farm effect is seen in Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.” Not surprisingly Pinot Noir does not work well in dry-farming because the grape clusters need to be covered from the hot Chilean sun. Senior Montes explained the process of dry-farming requires adjustments in the winemaking process. For example, harvest is often pushed forward up to 3 weeks and the yield has to be more tightly controlled to insure good results; however, deeper concentration of fruit flavors and higher acidity result from dry-farming, requiring “a lot of care with extraction during the fermentation” process. Senior Montes believes “it would be good practice” if both Chilean winemakers as well as all new world winemakers “learned how to irrigate less.” Finally, Senior Montes wine making philosophy, “Intervene as little as possible, sustainability, let the terroir express itself and of course QUALITY.” As more and more regions experience drought it is my hope dry-farming will become the norm (like it has always been in France) for the rest of the wine making world.

The beautiful Colchagua Valley; courtesy of Wines of Chile
The beautiful Colchagua Valley; courtesy of Wines of Chile

Now let’s taste three of Montes Alpha 2012 Colchagua Valley dry-farmed wines.

Mones Alpha 2012 Wines2

Montes 2012 CarmenereMontes Alpha Colchagua Valley 2012Carmenere: This wine poured a deep garnet into the glass and met the nose with rich ripe red fruit with tobacco, espresso, damp underbrush and licorice. On the palate this wine delivered loads of spice with blackberry jam, black raspberry, currants, plums, cassis, smoke and toasted walnuts. It has a well-balanced structure that was smooth, full body and a long, dry finish. The acidity was round and the tannins were present but not overwhelming. This wine was crafted from 90% Carmenere and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; 55% was barrel aged in French oak (1st, 2nd & 3rd use); recommended decanting for 1 hour; drink now or age for up to 10 years to further blend and mellow. This full body, full flavor wine would pair beautifully with grilled meats, lasagna, and barbeque; perfect for year round enjoyment.

Montes 2012 CabernetMontes Alpha Colchagua Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was crafted of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, deep garnet with scarlet highlights met the eye and aromas of black fruit, spice, cassis and toasted oak met the nose. On the palate this full body wine delivered flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, black cherry and currants; with toasted walnuts and espresso. The acidity was round and the tannins were a bit tight; this wine offered a lingering finish that was long on the palate. Fifty-percent of this wine was also aged in French oak (1st, 2nd & 3rd use) recommended 30 minute decant and up to ten years of cellaring. I recommend allowing this wine to age a bit so tannins have some time to continue to mellow. The wine would pair well with red meats, barbeque and any heart beef dish; perfect for year round enjoyment.

Montes 2012 SyrahMontes Alpha Colchagua Valley 2012 Syrah: This wine was crafted of 90% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Viognier. It poured a deep inky violet into the glass and met the nose with bramble berries, violets and spice. On the palate this wine delivered flavors of blackberries, blue berries, plums, nice spice notes with cinnamon and cedar cigar box. This smooth and silky wine was full body and offered big flavors; yet its acidity and tannins were well-balanced; offering a dry lingering finish. Though I enjoyed all three wines, this one was my favorite. Like the Carmenere, 55% of this wine was aged in French oak (1st, 2nd & 3rd use); recommended 30 minute decanting if drinking now; can be cellared up to 10 years. Like the previous two wines this full body wine would also pair well with red meat, barbeque and any heavy beef dishes; perfect for year round enjoyment.

Montes logoI encourage you to visit the Montes web site to learn more about commitment to sustainability, view their entire portfolio of wines and find these wines at a wine merchant near you.

Montes winery


My Song Selection: These three Montes Alpha wines were all full body wines, full of concentrated fruit, great earthiness and each had a bit of pleasing funk. Additionally, there is something celebratory about sipping wine with social media colleagues at 11am on a Wednesday. The song I chose to pair with these three Montes Alpha dry-farmed wines is Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars. This song is funky, and a bit sexy, and it gets you dancing; just like these three Montes wines.

Get your own bottles of Montes Alpha dry farmed 2012 Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah to celebrate Earth Day and let me know what song you would pair with them. Cheers!

2 responses to “Celebrating Earth Day with Montes Wines on #SommChat”

  1. So interesting about the dry farming. It intrigues me how differently varietals react to the stress. Some absolutely thrive and some just can’t do it. (I guess like everything else in life, adapt and survive- and some are better at it than others) Great read, and Happy Earth Day and Wine Wednesday.

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