Villalobos

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Country of Origin: Chile
Location: Lolol, Colchagua Valley
People: Villalobos Family, Owners & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Villalobos 2019 'Costino' Cabernet Sauvignon, Lolol Login In Stock
Villalobos 2018 'Silvestre' Carignan, Lolol Login WA 93 In Stock
Villalobos 2018 'Lobo' Carmenere, Lolol Login WA 91 In Stock
Villalobos 2018 'Zorrito Salvaje' Tinto (Cinsault/Pais), Chile (Itata/Maule) Login In Stock

Social Media:
Instagram: @villaloboswine
Twiter: @villaloboswine
Villalobos Facebook

People like to talk about “sauvage” or “wild” wines, but few are literal examples like Villalobos. Located in the district of Lolol in the Colchagua Valley of Chile, Villalobos is a 100% passion, 100% family project led by Enrique Villalobos, an artist, along with his wife Rita Encina, a professional ceramist, and their sons, Martin Villalobos, a civil industrial engineer, Alejandro Villalobos, a Professor of Philosophy, and Rolando Villalobos, also a civil industrial engineer.

The Villalobos project can only be described as beyond biodynamic viticulture. Their estate vineyard, from which the Silvestre Carignan comes, consists of entirely untrained and ungrafted bush vines. Planted in the 1940s, these are wild vines, a forest of fruit, where Carignan grows in bunches 18 feet off the ground. While the vineyard is dry-farmed, it's proximity to the river and clay soils (with quartz) make for incredibly fertile soils. Just 20 miles from the Pacific coast, the climate is warm and temperate, with diurnal shifts that range up to 20-degrees during the summer months. In addition to their estate vineyard, the Villalobos family also sources organic fruit from two local farmers.

The art of sculpture and the art of winemaking are intrinsically linked for the Villalobos’ family; wine is more like an extension of Enrique’s creative side than a traditional business. All of the Villalobos labels are painted by Enrique, and the winery is run out of his sculpture studio, the Valle de los Artistas. Located in the fields of Colchagua Valley just a couple of miles from the vineyards, the “Valley” is a unique artist collective and community space, featuring workshops and studios, as well as a small park, exhibition hall and community-focused gathering space.

Viewing winemaking as a creative bridge between nature and the human world, the Villalobos’ philosophy is rooted in low intervention farming and viticulture practices. Their vineyard operation includes draught horses, who prune the vines by nibbling the branches in the summer and, in full circle, contribute their nutrient-rich droppings as fertilizer in the spring. The estate vineyards have never been treated in the production process, growing free amongst native Chilean flora like maitenes, rosehip, culenes, pine trees, blackberry bushes that provide natural pest control. Woven among the thorny flora and fauna, all grapes are carefully harvested by hand by the Villalobos’ dedicated team of 20+ family and friends. In the cellar, the wines are aged slowly and naturally in neutral French oak barrels and steel, producing small amounts of terroir-representative wines. They are bottled without fining or filtration.

These are lighter, fresher examples of Chilean viticulture than we are used to tasting, but ones that still express a clear sense of an incredibly unique terroir; they not only represent something new for Chilean natural wine, but natural wine period.

Reviews

  • Villalobos 2018 'Silvestre' Carignan, Lolol
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93 (2/28/2020)

    The 2018 Viñedo Silvestre Carignan was produced with grapes from a vineyard planted in the 1940s that was abandoned in the 1970s and grown wild until recovered by the Villalobos family. By that time, the vines had climbed up trees and shared the space with hundreds of native plants. So they decided to keep it that way and just vinify the grapes that give a subtle wine with a pale color and an extraordinary nose that explodes with aromas of wild herbs, flowers, lots of pollen, cured meat and malted cereals. 2018 was a cool year that delivered a wine of great freshness and moderate alcohol, and it's medium-bodied but juicy, lively and pungent, with very fine tannins and a long finish. This is the finest vintage so far of this wine. Bravo! This has a simple vinification with indigenous yeasts and an élevage in well-seasoned, neutral oak barrels for 18 months. 8,300 bottles were filled in January 2020.
  • Villalobos 2018 'Lobo' Carmenere, Lolol
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (2/28/2020)

    The spicy and herbal 2019 Lobo Carmenere is intensely varietal in the new style of Carmenere, not ashamed of the character of the grape without recurring to very high maturity, extraction or oak. Furthermore, this is bottled at 13% alcohol and completely unoaked. It's peppery and juicy, with the naked variety in the foreground, medium-bodied and with mellow acidity. This comes from vines that are dry-farmed and was produced with minimal intervention and low added sulfites. 6,800 bottles were filled in January 2020.