19 Nov On the Shoulders of Giants – Golden Harvest
I came across this quotation thanks to Humberto Eco and was recently reminded of it by Stephen Hawkin’s book. Attributed to Newton (though it was documented five centuries earlier by John of Salisbury), it refers to the advances in science. Applicable to many disciplines, I now borrow it to entitle this story.
My first approach to wines made with botrytized grapes was with the famous Sémillon variety in Sauternes, at the launching of one of the the appellation’s new harvests. It was a feast of flavors and sweet textures. Later, it was the turn of the delicate balance of sweetness and acidity shown by the great BA and TBA Rieslings, closer to my taste, I would say. But the wines that blew my mind were those from Tokaj. What undoubtedly contributed to building this perception was the possibility to travel to Tokaj with Gregorio de Tarczal, one of its producer and my friend, sharing his effort for producing Tokaji in his old family vineyards, lost during the revolution and gained back through the Hungarian government by mid-2000s.
What an experience it was to meet such a distant and little-known culture with its unique language, different from all others! Located in an area bordering Ukraine and Slovakia, its houses are dug as caves in the Tufo rock and its barrels made by former Italian immigrant coopers. Its two rivers (Tiza and Bodrog) converge with their different temperatures, thus contributing to form the fog that rots the Furmint and Harslevelÿ grapes; understanding the system to measure the degree of sweetness in puttonyos, meaning the wooden baskets filled with 25 kg of botrytized grapes (Aszú), etc.
And when I mistakenly thought I knew or had tasted almost everything, someone put the first Morandé Golden Harvest on the table at my civil marriage. What a subtle detail of a gentle giant! Originated in Casablanca, vintage 2000, that bottle made me think of the endless possibilities of producing wines using 100% botrytized grapes in Chile, destemmed by hand, that reflected -like no other- the morning fogs of the Pacific Ocean and the young culture of our country and that of its people.
All in all, with its differences and virtues, finding reminiscences of these historical wines in our Golden Harvest was a beautiful discovery. The most aromatic but also the most delicate Sauvignon Blanc benefited considerably from the noble rotting process, making it more complex. It has an intense yellow color, unctuous, dense and attractive appearance, on the nose it reminds of orange blossoms, magnolias and apricot fruits, quinces, candied papayas and honey, in the mouth it is complex, and gaining both sweetness and acidity. They all share a character of honey, dried fruits, ripe apricots, nuts, and a slight note of bee-wax.
PS: Viña Morandé, Golden Harvest 2013, “Sweet Wine of the Year” by Tim Atkin
We are very proud to share with you the news that Tim Atkin, the renowned British critic and Master of Wine, awarded our Golden Harvest 2013 with 96 points in his Chile 2021 Special Report, issued on April 5, praising Golden Harvest as the country’s maximum exponent in his category. This wine, completely crafted by hand, is made only in years when Sauvignon Blanc grapes are 100% affected by botrytis cinerea and are then added to the must in a proportion equivalent to 6 puttonyos of botrytized grapes. These complex and unique conditions needed for its development make it still more special than what it already is.
For me, this is a very particular vintage since, after 2000 and 2007, 2013 was the first harvest that my team and I managed to convey our Golden Harvest the high-quality standards and the particular seal passed on to us by Pablo Morandé.
Winemaker at Viña Morandé