This extraordinary wine, from the oldest Chardonnay vineyard in the Limarí Valley, may well be the standard-bearer for Chardonnay grown in Chile. It is incredibly textural, with a flinty, gunsmoke nose and a broad palate punctuated by zingy notes of grapefruit and lemon peel. The finish is lengthy and focused, leaving you reaching enthusiastically for a second glass. The epitome of sensational, modern Chilean winemaking.
'...It's very aromatic and somewhat reductive, flinty and smoky, a little à la Coche-Dury...'
Luis Gutiérrez, robertparker.com
Very classic white-burgundy nose, with an exotic Chilean spicy twist and the additional ingredient of some fresh almonds. Beautiful texture and interest. Very difficult to spit this wine out. The acidity is new-wave Meursault level. The annual pilgrimage of Marcelo Retamal, ex De Martino, around the wine world has paid off! Lots to chew on here with a hint, but not a coarse one, of passion fruit.
The white 2019 Quebrada Seca, a mini-appellation within Limarí, comes from the first Chardonnay planted in the valley almost 30 years ago in 1993. The vineyard was left unirrigated in one of the crises, but some sectors survived, and in 2019 the vines recovered. This is a coastal wine from vines 25 kilometers from the ocean on clay and limestone soils, and it has a similar label as the Pinot Noir that is also from Limarí. It's unctuous, round, lush and from low-yielding vines, with a moderate alcohol of 13.2%, a healthy pH of 3.31 and very high acidity. It's very aromatic and somewhat reductive, flinty and smoky, a little à la Coche-Dury, bottled practically unfiltered. It's very tasty and salty, with an iodine note, fresh and balanced, very long. It's concentrated but balanced. The objective is to reach 7,000 bottles in the future, but in this inaugural vintage he produced 4,405 bottles and 100 magnums that were filled in June 2021 after 24 months in used barrels where it fermented with indigenous yeasts and lots of lees.
Marcelo Retamal is one of Chile's most influential winemakers, he worked at De Martino for over 20 years, driving quality and a move towards terroir-focused wines. He is a partner and head winemaker at Viñedos de Alcohuaz, a high-altitude project in the Elqui Valley that we adore.
In 2019, he had the idea for a personal project - RETA - working with his wife and three daughters, and a selection of the best plots he has discovered during his career as a winemaker. The grapes from all the sites - Quebrada Chalinga and Quebrada Seca in the Limarí Valley; and Romelio at the north of the Maule Valley - are picked early to keep moderate alcohol and ripeness, maintaining freshness, and have a gentle élevage in neutral oak. The aim is to produce wines that represent the place they come from.
This project represents a culmination of years of making wine from hundreds of different parcels and places across Chile, plus the experience of travelling and tasting wine around the world. As Marcelo summarises wonderfully: "All the work I’ve done over the past 24 years concludes with these 3 wines”