The Elqui Valley forms a corridor between the cool Pacific of northern Chile and the Andean mountains in the east of the country. The vineyards are at altitudes between 1700 and 2200 metres. Up here summers are hot and sunny, winters cold, and the daily diurnal temperature range is extreme. Rainfall can be as low as 100mm per year. Soils are decomposed granite from the Andes with a high mineral content. All of these factors combined lead to thick skinned grapes.
Alchohuaz is a small village at the top of the valley, and it was near here that Alvaro Flano began purchasing land with the idea of planting vineyards up to an elevation of 2200 metres. Marcelo Retamal of the famous De Martino winery was hired as winemaker. Having worked with over 350 vineyard sites in Chile, Reta was hugely excited about the potential of the unique terroir of Alchohuaz: These are true mountain wines.
In the purpose-built cellar the grapes are foot trodden in stone lagares prior to vinification. Reta feels this is necessary to gently extract the flavours, and tannins from the thick skinned grapes. Fermentation is with wild yeast and the wines are then aged in concrete eggs for 12month.
Grus is named after a constellation visible above the Elqui Valley, whose clear skies are prized by stargazers.
'This has a deep ruby colour; Intriguing nose, with a pleasant, light reduction (tar, smoke), baking spice, cassis, blackberry, black plums and an almost granitic / stony minerality. Medium bodied on the palate with balancing acidity, fine slightly sandy almost chalky tannins with juicy dark fruit. Exciting wine!' Anja Breit, Philglas & Swiggot