About the producer
They went in search for a region which could best suit the more sensitive varieties of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The prerequisite was to find a region cool enough for slow ripening, retaining vibrant freshness and moderate alcohols, while having enough rainfall to be able to dry farm the vines once established.
In took two years of exploration, enlisting Burgundy expert geologist Françoise Vannier-Petit to help locate the perfect site, eventually settling in Traiguén, in Chile’s deep south and on the same latitude as Patagonia. Aware of the poor clones often used in the past in Chile, Baettig sourced top Burgundian clones for the vineyards.
The first commercial vintage was 2018, with the winery making two different cuvées of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their top wines for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the Selección de Parcelas, a selection of the finest fruit.
Once more established, they hope this range will develop into single vineyard plots. The more entry-level Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are called Vino de Viñedo and represent the remaining production grown on the 15-hectare estate.
In the vineyard
The vineyards are all situated in Traiguén, a sub-region within the Malleco Valley, situated on the 38th degree parallel, level with Patagonia. It is a cool-climate site with poor volcanic soils. In contrast to the main wine-producing regions of Central Chile, Traiguén is exposed to 25% less radiation, tempering the climate and encouraging a longer growing season, helping to build complexity in the grapes.
The vineyard’s close proximity to the Traiguén river offers some protection to spring frosts, which remain a major threat to the region, being located so far south. The estate comprises 22 hectares of which currently 15.4 are planted – nine to Pinot Noir and 6.4 to Chardonnay.
The first vines were planted in 2010, with different sites dry farmed and irrigated to experiment with the terroir’s capabilities. After 10 years they decided to irrigate only the young vines to establish them, but then will dry farm. They are also trialling one plot planted on its own rootstock.
In the winery
Francisco Baettig is one of Chile’s most acclaimed winemakers, working for top Chilean winery Errazuriz – the estate behind Seña, Las Pizarras and Viñedo Chadwick.
The fruit is all hand harvested and fermented using native yeasts. The Chardonnays are all 100% barrel-fermented in larger 400-litre oak barrels. The amount of new oak varies but typically the Vino de Viñedo uses just 10%, while it is closer to 40% for the Selección de Parcelas. The wine is aged in barrel for 12-16 months depending on the cuvée.
A portion of the Pinot Noir is whole-bunch fermented (typically 15-30%). Once fermented the wine is matured in French oak barrels between 15-18 months (20% new). Minimal sulphites are used throughout production due to the moderate alcohol levels and naturally low pH levels in the wines, making them less susceptible to oxidation.