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Puente Alto: wines of unique heritage

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Francisca Jara

In its desire to find the best origins for each variety, Concha y Toro opted for Puente Alto in 1968. Discover why this unique terroir is so important in the production of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The history of Concha y Toro and its relationship to the Puente Alto terroir dates back to 1968, when the winery acquired 400 hectares of vineyards in the Maipo Valley. Some of the first French varieties brought to Chile had been planted there, although the vineyard was later replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. This is how, in 1972, part of these grapes gave rise to the first Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon. And so began a long winemaking tradition in this valley and the Puente Alto zone in particular.

Puente Alto is located in the coldest part of the Maipo Valley, in an area with a semi-arid Mediterranean climate and a broad oscillation between daytime and nighttime temperatures. These conditions prolong the grape ripening period and encourage an aromatic concentration and intensity that enables the wines to preserve their freshness and elegance. These soils have an ancient character, originating from the millennial glacial erosion that advanced from the Andes to the Maipo Valley below, dragging material and creating terraces. There are five such terraces along the banks of the Maipo River, the third of which is the oldest and where Puente Alto is specifically located, 650 meters above sea level. All of these characteristics allow us to speak of an exceptional terroir, capable of producing high-end wines with unique character.

El Mariscal Vineyard

Times have changed since 1972. Not only have global temperatures risen, but the history of Marques de Casa Concha has also evolved along with modern viticulture.

In 1998, the company acquired a property named El Mariscal, just three kilometers from the original. By the year 2000, 52 hectares of vineyards had been planted there, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. All are from a massal selection of pre-phylloxera stock and most are planted on their own roots (ungrafted). Today these vines give rise to the Marques de Casa Concha Heritage, created by winemaker Marcelo Papa, who seeks to faithfully express the terroir from which Viña Concha y Toro’s winemaking tradition and heritage began.

“Puente Alto is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important appellations for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Its proximity to the Andes Mountains, luminosity, and gravel soils gives this origin a unique and recognizable character. Its precision in the fruit allows us to obtain ample palates, round tannins, and just the right amount of sweetness, which makes these exceptional wines,” he explains.

Marques de Casa Concha Heritage is a red blend of the vines grown in the El Mariscal Vineyard (along with a bit from the Don Melchor Vineyard), which contains 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. On the palate it shows a deep concentration of flavors recalling cherries, cassis, cedar, blackberries, and black tar, as well as an almost silky texture and firm tannins. A wine that faithfully reflects the characteristics of Puente Alto. 

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