As seen on Girls of TO
Full disclosure, I managed the media relations for Montes Wines trip to Toronto but I will also say that I knew nothing about the brand prior. I knew that they had pioneered dry farming in Chile (a practice that uses only natural irrigation, creating ripe, heavier grapes), they were winning sustainability awards and that they made good wine.
What I immediately loved about winemaker Aurelio Montes Jr. was his passion for winemaking. But not just his passion, his genuine love for his grapes, the environment, his staff and of course, the quality of his final product.
Montes Winery (based in Chile but recently expanded to Argentina) practices sustainable wine making. This is a top classification that is reviewed on an annual basis: every year, they pass with flying colours.
But what does it mean to sustainable? Sustainable farming is based on the following:
Conserving the environment (Save water!)
Winery Operations (Recycle and don’t waste precious energy!)
Social responsibility (Are you nice to people and respect their community?)
Research & Development (Which grapes grow best in which soil?)
Global Reporting Initiative (Hello world! Biodiversity works!)
Before I lose you on more technical jargon, let me just highlight that this winery has reduced it’s carbon footprint by 5%, uses 65% less water, 60% less energy AND provides workers with clothing, free education, cultural celebrations and most importantly, an inter-winery soccer league.
‘People talk about great wine coming from terroirs and grape clusters,’ explains Aurelio Montes Jr, his hands stabbing the air emphatically in the way only native Spanish speakers can do. ‘And yes- they are all important but it is people that make wine. Happy people make happy wine.’ Amen! And this happiness is apparent in every bottle of wine Montes produces.
And the happiness keeps on flowing! Montes also wants happy grapes. Montes Wine feng shui’s the winery and plays classical music to the grapes as they mature in their oak barrel wombs. There is no scientific proof that this works but it is definitely not making the wine worse.
But what you really want to know about is the wine- Is it any good?
The answer is yes! The Cabernet Sauvignon (my favourite!) is rich, ripe, fruity and thankfully, not too sweet. Aged for 12 months, this wine is an intense ruby colour with blackcurrant, chocolate and little bit of smokiness: It is well-balanced and full-bodied.
Montes Alpha is a wine that is delicious, affordable and environmentally friendly. You can feel really good about buying/drinking this wine…As if you needed an excuse.
Montes Alpha 2012 Cabernet Dry Farming Wine will be in the LCBO this May.
Montes Alpha 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is in the LCBO now for a limited time offer of $17.95
Check out my interview with TO Wine Drinker at Montes Winery’s visit to Toronto