Established in 2002, Tabalí is a pioneer and iconic winery situated in Limarí, on the edge of the Atacama Desert in one of the northernmost vineyard regions of Chile. They were one of the first wineries to settle in Limarí and their wines faithfully reflect their place of origin in which climate and soils play a fundamental role, and bring out the potential of each of their vineyards.
After years of geological research, Tabalí is the only winery that produces wines that cross Chile from east to west in the same valley (D.O.), from their incredibly high and remote site of Roca Madre (second highest vineyard in Chile) in the Andes Mountains' Rio Hurtado area down to their cool climate, 'Camanchaca' fog blanked vineyards by the Pacific Ocean. In their quest for the perfection, they now also have a site in the renowned Cabernet and Merlot region of Maipo Valley. The result is a range of truly distinctive wines with elegance, restraint and minerality which the dynamic team of Felipe Muller (winemaker) and Hector Rojas (viticulturalist) have attributed to their cabinet full of the wine world’s most prestigious trophies.
In 2014, Felipe Müller was named 'Chilean Young Winemaker of the Year' and acclaimed for his ability to understand Tabali´s distinctive terroir and use it to create remarkable wines, unique to Chile. Tabalí also has the honour of stewardship of the Limarí Valley’s most significant archaeological sites, the mystical ‘Valle del Encanto’ (Enchanted Valley) which borders their vineyards. A sacred site of the ancient Molle and Diaguita culture, the many rock drawings and carved Tacita stones depict an ancient way of life. The Tabalí mask logo has been taken from one of these rock carvings, which can only be seen at certain times of day when the sun’s alignment makes them magically appear.
The Espinal vineyard is located in the coastal part of the valley. In the coastal area where this vineyard is located (24km from the sea), the alluvial terrace reveals different levels of clay at the surface. This gives way to a matrix of alluvial soil (volcanic rock which was rounded by erosion as it was carried many kilometres from high up in the mountains). This soil is very stony but has veins of limestone in the form of dust, mainly consisting of calcium carbonate. The limestone rocks in the high peaks of the Andes mountains were dragged by melting ice to the lower parts of the valley and deposited there as dust mixed with alluvial soil. This phenomenon is what marks the Limarí Valley as immediately different from Chile's other wine regions, as limestone produces very refreshing, mineral wines in a style quite different to those from the rest of the country, even cool areas.
The grapes were hand-harvested into 20kg-bins to avoid any damage to the fruit. The harvest began in mid-May, when this variety had reached the optimum aromatic and phenolic ripeness. The fermentation took place in small stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The maceration occurred after the alcoholic fermentation. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for ten months.
The incredibly dense beetroot red colour is the result of the pure air, long hours of sunshine and diurnal temperature difference in this region. The nose has aromas of warm star anise and ripe damson fruit. The palate is rich and concentrated with dark fruit and fine tannins making this an elegant and well balanced Syrah with great structure and a remarkably long finish.