Charles de Bournet Marnier Lapostolle at the Trialto Wine Group's office in downtown Toronto. Charles represents the 7th generation of the Marnier-Lapostolle winemaking family and was recently named Chief Executive Officer of the company's Chilean arm.
Lapostolle was founded in 1994 by Charles' parents Alexandra Marnier and Cyril de Bournet. Alexandra Marnier is the great grand-daughter of the creator of the famous brandy liqueur - Grand Marnier. They chose to expand their wine production to Chile because it was (and still is) free of phylloxera. A major reason why Chile is free of this disease is because its longitudinal borders - the Andes Mountains to the East and the Pacific Ocean to the West - help to naturally protect the vines from this grape-killing disease.
Lapostolle's first ever wine was the 1994 Sauvignon Blanc. I tasted their latest iteration (the 2012) on this evening and compared it with a Sauvignon Blanc from Lapostolle's French arm - Château de Sancerre in the Loire Valley. Tasting notes for these two wines, along with the other 4 wines I tasted are below.
My favourite wine of the evening was the Carmenère, for which Chile is famously known for, and I personally love. This varietal's leaves turn red first, before all other grapes. The shade of red is called "Carmin". It is from this interesting fact that the grape gets its name - Carmenère.
The winery is very much devoted to help protecting our environment. 100% of their vineyards certified organic. All of their vineyards are also certified biodynamic, creating self-sustainable eco-systems. One of the ways they help protect the environment is by using the cool-maceration process. Grapes are picked at night when it's cooler (who wants to pick grapes during the hot, Chilean day?) so the freshness of the flavours are captured. This also eliminates the need to machine-cool the grapes.
It was a pleasure to meet Charles, he is very knowledgeable and passionate about wine. I am sure he could talk about wine for hours (in a good way). I look forward to seeing him again and visit Lapostolle's estate when I visit Chile. Perhaps I'll even get the chance to pick some grapes. =)
CASA LAPOSTOLLE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 - Rapel Valley, Chile (#321554) (XD) - $14.95
From the LCBO General List and always available, the 2012 version has herbaceous, citrus, lemon rind, butter aromas of medium intensity. Palate is medium-bodied and extra dry with unexpected pear and butter notes. Nice acidity with a lingering finish that shows hints of spice. Also contains 8% Semillón and 2% Sauvignon Gris. Easy drinking and food friendly. Score: 88 pts
CHÂTEAU DE SANCERRE BLANC 2011 - Loire, France (#340893) (XD) - $25.95
100% Sauvignon Blanc. This version from Loire has aromas of fresh tropical fruits and herbal/green notes. Light-bodied with crisp acidity, flavour profile consists of herbal, mineral, and slate. Zippy acidity goes into high gear mid-palate, but tapers quickly thereafter. Length finish and highly recommended to serve with food. Score: 89 pts
CASA LAPOSTOLLE CUVÉE ALEXANDRE CHARDONNAY 2011 - Atalayas Vineyard, Casablanca Valley, Chile (#947937) (D) - $20.75
Made with organic grapes, quite aromatic with smooth and pleasing butter, apple and pear. Creamy and oily on the medium-full bodied frame, and lovely aroma replays. Balanced, long finish. Good acidity for pairing with food. Very nice! Score: 90 pts
CASA LAPOSTOLLE CASA GRAND SELECTION CARMENÈRE 2011 - Rapel Valley, Chile (#168740) (XD) - $15.95
Blended with 6% Merlot and 5% Syrah. Lovely red & black fruits, meaty, earthy and wood aromatics. Full-bodied with nice aroma replays. Mouth-watering acidity and a long, smooth finish. Shows great balance with nicely integrated tannins. Could be aged 2 years, but is definitely (very) enjoyable now! Amazing that this is part of the LCBO General List. My favourite of the tasting. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts
CASA LAPOSTOLLE CUVÉE ALEXANDRE MERLOT 2011 - Apalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#459206) (XD) ~ $35
Made with organic grapes and also contains 15% Syrah. Aromas of black fruits, planked wood and meaty notes. Full-bodied with crushed black fruits and cherry flavours, with hints of mint and cedar. Big tannins are integrating nicely. Well-balanced overall with mouth-watering acidity. Subtle hints of spice on the medium-length finish. Still a bit young, I would give this another year or two in cellar. Expect this red wine to be in Vintages in the Fall. Score: 90 pts
CASA LAPOSTOLLE CUVÉE ALEXANDRE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - Apalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#947929) (XD) ~ $25
Made with organic grapes and is blended with 7% Cab Franc and 5% Syrah. Low-to-medium intensity aromas of cassis, red fruits and oak aromas. Full-bodied with chalky tannins that are integrating nicely. Cedar, black fruit, cassis and sour cherry on the palate. Mouth-watering acidity and a smooth, lengthy finish. Expected in Vintages this Fall. Score: 90 pts