Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle, a descendant of the world-famous Lapostolle family, is a woman of boundless energy and vision.
In 1993 during a family visit with her husband Cyril de Burnet to the Rabat family in the Colchagua Valley in Chile, Alexandra came upon Clos Apalta, an old vineyard, and immediately fell in love with the site.
The Marnier-Lapostoille family, makers of the world-famous Grand Marnier liqueur, owns wineries in France, but never ventured outside up to that year. Alexandra and Cyril were able to persuade the Rabat family to enter into a joint venture enterprise, and Alexandra convinced the family to ante $ 20 million to create a modern enterprise. Since then, Alexandra and Cyril bought out the Rabat family interests.
The vision is to apply French vitivinicultural expertise to Chilean terroir. Given that Chile’s terroir is infinitely suitable for grape growing and the law permits anything to produce fine wines including judicial irrigation, blending and using technical intervention success was a given from the beginning.
Alexandra is not a woman of half measures. For her quality means everything and to this end she recruited the services of Michel Roland, the legendary wine consultant, with a clause in the contract that in Chile he will be consulting to Casa Lapostolle exclusively.
Originally, the business plan was to create a super premium red wine in a decade. That goal was achieved in three years; Clos Apalta took a little longer. This outstanding wine is a blend of Bordeaux grape varieties (cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, carmenere). Proportions change according to the vintage. It is now acclaimed as one of the best red wines of Chile and sought after world wine by connoisseurs.
Casa Lapostolle owns three vineyards, the most acclaimed of which is Clos Apalta, the others are 100 km south of Santiago in the Rapel Valley, and 60 Km west in the Casablanca which is cooler because of its vicinity to the Pacific Ocean and more suited for sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.
The regular quality is labeled as estate bottled, the next level up is Cuvee Alexander, and the ultimate Clos Apalta.
At Clos Apalta, bunches are destemmed one berry at a time by hand, at 15 degree angle to minimize tannin extraction. Grapes are crushed directly over the wooden fermentation vats and subsequently aged in 250 liter Allier and Troncais barrels for 18 – 36 months.
Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyirl de Burnet at their winery Casa Lapostolle have managed to produce extraordinary sauvignon blancs, chardonnays, merlots, cabernet sauvignon and their flagship Clos Apalta.
Expect to see more and better quality from this extraordinary Chilean winery conceived and managed by quality conscious French.
The following Casa Lapostolle wines are highly recommended:
Chardonnay Cuvee Alexander 2005 Casablanca Valley
Excellent brilliant greenish yellow colour, with intense apple and pear aromas. In the mouth the wine has a creamy texture opening up to layers of fruit underlined by gentle oak. Long aftertaste. An excellent value.
Cabernet Sauvignon Cuvee Alexander 2004 Colchagua valley
Vibrant red, ripe berry aromas with mints scents, full bodied, with a smooth and voluptuous texture.
Syrah Cuvee Alexander 2004 Rapel Valley
A fruity, substantial and powerful wine. Superb and long aftertaste.
Pair with medium-rare grilled beefsteaks, old chesses or game stews.
Merlot 2008 Clos Apalta
Dark red, aromas of plum and ripe berries, smooth and well extracted with a full body and soft tannins. Chocolaty and smokey flavours with extraordinary intensity of fruit and elegance are evident on the palate. Long finish. Pair with roast rack of lamb, roast leg of lamb, roast loin of pork stuffed with prunes.