Top 10 Winemakers Chile - 10 years on: 2007-2017


The purpose of this blog is to describe the evolution of the wines produced for the project Top 10 Winemakers of Chile, first released in 2007. This collection of wines gathered the greatest Chilean winemakers to produce a wine predominantly from the same Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard to celebrate the 200 years of Chile’s independence.

Previously, back in April 2010, I wrote about the same topic after tasting this collection for the first time (click here for 2010 blog) and now, 7 years later, it is with excitement that I want to share my views on one of the rarest wine collections ever produced in Chile again. I feel privileged to have shared this range of wines with my family and their friends in Trufulco, in the beautiful lake districts of the south of Chile, where for 30 people I shared my knowledge and entertained in between laughs and spontaneous interactions, for a group of individuals with different levels of expertise, from novices to professionals.

It was a truly special and emotional experience to be able to reproduce this tasting once again, 7 years after I originally tasted it. Also, to see my notes about each wine and how accurately they have evolved based on my original comments of each bottling at the time. It was great to see that the evolution of the less expressive examples seven years ago are now flourishing and, as a learning curve, seeing that some of the best early drinking examples have now past their optimum. It was a great honour to describe the wines to people who I know from growing up and probably were not aware of my involvement with wine since I have been living in Australia.

Find below my notes on each wine from February 2017 alongside my notes from presenting the same tasting 7 years ago in 2010.



Pablo Morandé, Winemaker of Morandé winery 

71% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 12% Cabernet Sauvignon from San Bernardo, Maipo Alto / 8% Cabernet Franc from San Bernardo, Maipo Alto / 5% Carignan from Loncomilla, Maule / 4% Syrah from Loncomilla, Maule 

Impressions February 2017

Dense red-maroon colour; aromas of spices, anise and fruit cake; on the palate has ripe fruit yet drying with charming vanilla oak. It is fleshy, generous, persistent and intense with the oak sticking out a bit as the fruit has diminished. It tastes like an old Rioja or Priorat with notes of chocolate milk mixed with spices. The best of the wine has passed. 

Notes from 2007

The nose has got very ripe black fruits, and it warms your face a bit. The tannins are firm and wild, the Carignan component shows a strong and direct aftertaste, adding a great acidity, excellent now and even more interesting in a couple of years. This is in my top 3.


Adolfo Hurtado, Winemaker Cono Sur winery 


70% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 1% de Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto, Maipo Alto / 8% de Syrah de San José, Maipo Alto / 7% Carmenère from Peumo, Cachapoal / 4% Malbec from Peralillo, Colchagua. 

my impressions February 2017

Red-clay appearance; it has a nose of fruit cake, coffee, chocolate, ripe blackberry with a herbal touch; With an angular shape, this is a medium bodied wine with cedar edge, very masculine, well framed and structured; the finish is long, persistent and alive with minty character. A very intense, honest and stylish cabernet sauvignon 

Notes from 2007

Fruity and fresh, soft tannins up front and intense and meaty at the back of the palate. It is probably quite honest in the way that it illustrates his very recognisable winemaking style



Marcelo Papa, Winemaker of Concha y Toro winery 


70% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 22% de Syrah from own vineyard in the Maipo Alto / 6% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto / 2 % de Carmenère from Peumo, Cachapoal. 

my impressions February 2017

Red-terracotta colour; its bouquet is of vanilla, chocolate milk, cedar, coffee bean and roasted nuts; oak tannins play a big element with medium body and flavours of black tea, cedar and hazelnut chocolate; very structured, long and balanced finish. A ripe style with oak maturation characters playing a strong role. Direct and classy. 

Notes from 2007

Elegant and delicate in nose, fruity, juicy and fresh. It showed different facets as I let it breathe and I feel like I can drink it at any time. My favourite of the selection.


Marcelo Retamal, Winemaker of De Martino winery. 


Wine is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto. (Base wine) 

my impressions February 2017

Deep red-maroon appearance; aromas of cassis, herbs, blackberry, coffee and raspberry cordial; quite alive, full of flavour, it is fleshy with black pepper character on a medium body; it has a textural grainy texture with angular upfront finish showing typical varietal expression. It is a focused personal example showing at optimum drinking with a 5-year window ahead. A high-quality Chilean cabernet sauvignon. 

Notes from 2007

The wine is very structured. It displays black fruits, with a very sweet and juicy palate. The aftertaste is very long and dark. So far one of my favourites of the tasting.


Cecilia Torres, Winemaker of Santa Rita Estates 


89% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base Wine) / 7% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto / 4% Syrah Alto Jahuel, Maipo 

my impressions February 2017

Dense red-violet appearance; aromas of raspberry cordial, tobacco and coffee; on the palate it is juicy, light bodied, upfront, spicy and layered yet short. It is a delicate and defined but the best of the wine has passed 

Notes from 2007

This is a gentle and friendly Cabernet, soft tannins, red fruits, and a silky long finish. Ready to drink now.



Enrique Tirado, Winemaker of Concha y Toro winery 


76% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 15% Carmenère from Peumo, Cachapoal / 7% Cabernet Franc from Puente Alto, Maipo Alto / 2% Syrah from Buin, Maipo. 

my impressions February 2017

Red-violet colour of a young wine; bouquet it is quite opulent with coffee, ripe raspberry and cigar; tannins are integrated on a medium body, very structured with grainy sweet fruited flavours; It is fleshy and complex with a balanced flow across the palate showing the character of a fine wine, very Pauillac in personality 

Notes from 2007

This is a wine with an intense dark colour, smells of plums and blackberries, elegant and meaty, powerful but with a nice balance on the palate. A great wine to drink on a special occasion.


Alvaro Espinoza, Winemaker of Antiyal winery 


70% Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from Los Morros, Maipo / 14,4 Syrah, 6.6% Carmenère,  3,2% Merlot and 0.8% Mourvedre from Los Robles, Colchagua 

my impressions February 2017

Developed red-terracotta colour; ripe blueberry, cigar and dark chocolate aromas; it is a heavy example with textural dry tannin, it has dried out with flavours of cedar, chocolate milk; very intense and matured. The best of the wine has passed 

Notes from 2007

Probably the most complex wine of the selection. Very black colour, nose of very ripe dark fruits, the palate is quite broad, covering different areas of it. The tannin structure is balanced and it is surprising the way it shows many aspects of the different varieties that the winemaker used. It is not my personal favourite, but is definitely a super wine 


Ignacio Recabarren, Winemaker Concha y Toro Winery. 


93% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 2% Cabernet Sauvignon from Pirque, Maipo Alto / 2% Cabernet Franc from Maipo Alto / 2% Carmenère from Peumo, Cachapoal. 

my impressions February 2017

Red-violet colour of a young wine; it has a pool of aromas of coffee, herbs, cigar, black pepper, roasted capsicum and blueberry; medium bodied wine of flavoursome sinuous tannins; very stylish and articulated, poised crossing across the palate in slow motion with bouncy flavours and the oak playing a pivotal role.  Typical Chilean cabernet sauvignon with great definition and personality 

Notes from 2007

This is a wine with a perfect balance between the powerful and the elegance of the Cabernet. A flashy wine with nice structure and firm tannins. Great cellar potential 



Andres Ilabaca, Winemaker Santa Rita Estates 


78% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Alto (Base Wine) / 20% Cabernet Franc and 2% de Cabernet Sauvignon from Alto Jahuel, Maipo. 

my impressions February 2017

Red-maroon colour; sweet fruited aromas with notes of chocolate milk and coffee; on the palate it has oaky infused spice, medium bodied with flavours of black tea. It has dry grainy texture; focused and structured with well-integrated tannins showing intense and complex finish. Fine wine at optimum drinking. 

Notes from 2007

This is a wine that doesn’t show much from the beginning, it has got earthy notes but not an expressive nose, and firm tannins which are very alive. You can cellar this bottle for a long time. 


Aurelio Montes, Winemaker Montes Winery. 


70% Cabernet Sauvignon de Maipo Alto (Base wine) / 15 % Cabernet Sauvignon from Marchigüe, Colchagua / 15% Syrah from Apalta, Colchagua 

my impressions February 2017

Red maroon appearance; typical nose of sweet raspberry cordial with notes of ripe blackberry in the background; oaky and big bodied, very opulent, compact and dense flavours; It is intense, direct, round and powerful. Wine has reached its optimum 

Notes from 2007

Black and ripe fruit over the barrel makes this wine very friendly and fresh, oily and juicy and with a great structure. This is a wine in the style that Montes has been making in the last decade, quite successfully I have to say.


I had always thought that Chilean wine couldn’t age well for over 10 years from vintage, but this tasting is testimony to the fact that great Chilean wine can age gracefully for that length of time and in the best cases for over 20 years. Examples like the wines made by Adolfo Hurtado, Marcelo Retamal and Ignacio Recabarren are truly exceptional and their ageing capability shows the pedigree they have, which in itself is a great achievement for the Top 10 winemakers project.

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