Cabernet Sauvignon, 1978. Casa de Rojas| Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | September 1983

Among the wines of the world, those from Chile are often singled out as remarka­ble values. Chile is the second largest producer of wine in South America. It trails Argentina.

The history of Chilean wine dates back to the 1550’s when Father Francisco de Carabantes brought vines from Cuzco. Winemaking flourished over the centuries because of good soil, ideal climate with protection from the Andes to the east, and cool ocean breezes of the Pacific from the west. Guidance by French experts over the years helped native winemakers make the best of their fine land. Chile is one of the few coun­tries that escaped the scourge of the vine aphid Phylloxera which devastated Europe and other wine growing regions of the world in the late 1800’s.

A setback hit the wine industry in Chile in the recent years. Political con­straints by the Allende re­gime held back the industry. Attempts to curb alcoholism by curtailing planting of vines in favor of other crops, and dispossessing vineyard owners took their toll. Since 1974, the climate has changed and Chilean wine looks like it will come back into its own.

Casa de Rojas was estab­lished by Don Francisco de Rojas in 1874. He won world recognition in 1877 by win­ning a gold medal in Paris for his wines from the Tara­paca vineyards. They are situated in the better wine growing region of The Central Valley Zone, near Santiago, in the slopes of the Maipo Valley. His heirs continue the tradition of good wine making to this day.

I recall seeing the sta­tistic that Chile grows more Cabernet Sauvignon than any other country in the world. A surprising tidbit! This grape has acclimatized well to these regions. It produces a wine reminiscent of a light Bordeaux. French influence in winemaking and style is seen. A very adaptive grape, Caber­net Sauvignon will show basic characters of flavor wherever it is transplanted. Bold, dry, austere, unmistakable varietal character, are its trademarks.

Our wine is medium ruby red in color with hint of garnet at the edge. It has a distinct peppery aroma, developing into a cedary bou­quet as you swirl it. Lots of fruit and some hint of com­plexity starting to develop. The taste is dry, soft at first, with fruit showing. Elegant and tightly struc­tured. Develops in the mouth to some tannin. Excellent balance. Full body. Finishes with oak. Serve at room tem­perature with roasts, steaks, or game.

Cellaring Notes: Will develop complexities for 5 to 7 yrs.

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