The grapes to produce the Chardonnay Casablanca Montes Alpha were hand picked during the early hours of the morning to ensure they reached the cellar at a cool temperature. The Chardonnay was processed using three different techniques: whole-cluster pressed, destemmed and pressed, and destemmed and cold macerated for a few hours. Fermentation took place in tank for 25 days at temperatures of 13°C – 14°C. 35% of the must was fermented in old oak barrels with differing degrees of toast. The rest was fermented in concrete tanks. This wine did not undergo malolactic conveersion (unlike previous vintages) as Montes desired a move to a more elegant style of Chardonnay.
The vineyards for this wine are in the Casablanca region, where cool breezes and proximity to the Pacific Ocean produce ideal conditions for the Chardonnay to ripen slowly and fully. The sites are irrigated via a sustainable system, pioneered by Aurelio and his team, which allows for extremely precise and minimal irrigation. The varied sandy and loam soils lend this wine tremendous complexity. The main clones used are Dijon 76 and Clone 95, the former contributing tropical fruit and citrus, and the latter lending depth and producing exceptionally concentrated grapes. The vineyards are vertically trained and drip irrigated, with yields usually less than 9,000 kg per hectare.
Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, first produced in 1987, broke the mould for premium wines in Chile. Since then, Alpha has developed to become the core range in the Montes portfolio. The grapes and sites are carefully selected in order to ensure varietal integrity and complexity. Viticulture is hands on rather than mechanical or industrial.