23 Mar House of Morandé: The Cadillac of our winery
Taking the baton from the hands of one of the most important Chilean winemakers is a challenge and a responsibility that I still feel to this day. Fortunately, I’m not alone in this task. At Viña Morandé we are a team that complements each other and enjoys its work. My mission has not been to replace –since that is impossible-, but to continue the vision of sensing the trade in a fluid and natural way. To project into the future a way of understanding and interpreting the vineyards through the wines we make and which are the hallmark of Viña Morandé.
This is made easier when generosity and joint purposes exist, as in this case. However, making the winery’s icon, the wine created and dreamed of by its founder, still gives me butterflies in my stomach. But rising to the challenge is both a difficult and beautiful task. Year after year, vintage after vintage.
I particularly remember one moment from the beginning of this adventure, which has been a reference point to understand, in words of its main character, the meaning of our House of Morandé. During a tasting with different people in a restaurant in Santiago, Pablo Morandé and I shared the presentations of the wines to be tasted. The last glass of the night was obviously our House. And the winemaker who had created it from the vineyard –located at the foot of the Chena hill, in front of the town of San Bernardo- to its vinification and aging, commented on it. It was a great way to understand the firm points of what we could call a signature wine.
Being also a great poet, Pablo Morandé used an allegory or metaphor that I’ve never forgotten to describe it: “When I drink this wine, I feel as if I’m on-board of an uncovered Cadillac, driving comfortably for miles, with my elbow on the door, at cruising speed, without getting tired and enjoying the trip. A wine of long, powerful, yet smooth pace”. He only missed saying that he was smoking his legendary cigar aboard the Cadillac…
And yes, when I tasted it, this metaphor became completely evident for me. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc parcels that give life to House of Morandé are specifically managed and vinified to create a wine for aging, which blends the structural elegance of Maipo Alto with the characteristics of the terroir in Chena. Its surrounding hills create a slightly warmer microclimate than its neighboring Puente Alto, although both share the same alluvial soils found on the third terrace of the Maipo River. These particularities, in addition to the salt-rich waters from the volcanoes where the river originates, come together thanks to the good hand of a winemaker who produces grapes that will give rise to wines of great volume, with notes of black fruits and spices.
A few years later, when Pablo Morandé handed me over the baton to continue the saga of our wine, I decided to keep the style of this Cadillac with its wide, comfortable seats, and its steering wheel gearshift. But decided to incorporate some retouching or slight aggiornamenti, such as painting it red. This, as a result of an earlier harvest forced by both climate change and the influence of Ferrari’s Cavallino Rampante, which I carry inside me.
If there is a slight glimpse of art in wine, I think it can be found in the involuntary reflection of our personality translated into an object. In this case, a living product such as wine. It is possible to see through it a part of our nature, of how we are. As of the 2014 vintage, I find myself behind the wheel of this Cadillac. As I revved it up, the wine responded with lower alcohol and redder fruit, feeling like a fresh breeze. However, it holds its roots firmly attached to the terroir where it was born and also maintains its construction design, which allows driving this classic for years, and over many miles, with style, strength, and personality.