Established in 2002, Tabali is a pioneer and iconic winery situated in Limari, 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 Limari 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, Tabali 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. Tabali also has the honour of stewardship of the Limari 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 Tabali 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.
A slope (un talud) leading up to a mountain where centuries of rock falls have left the soil beneath full of large angular rocks, and therefore useless for most agriculture. Deposited hugger-mugger amongst the clay and sand however, they offer perfect drainage and allow vines to grow, forcing their roots ever downwards in search of water, picking up minerals along the way. If you wanted to explain to someone what Cabernet Sauvignon tasted like, you could do a lot worse than showing them this beautiful expression of the variety which demonstrates great purity, concentration and elegance.
The DOM vineyard, regarded as one of the top 5 Cabernet regions in Chile, is a stunning site nestled into the western zone of Maipo's Coastal Mountain range. The vineyard is planted on a south facing slope of heavy colluvial deposits and the Mediterranean climate along with the site’s aspect makes it cooler and fresher than other parts of the valley. This means the fruit is less exposed to the sun during the ripening period, allowing the depth of colour and flavours to develop. Grapes are handpicked at their optimum ripeness, which in winemaker Felipe Muller’s eyes, is when there is good phenolic ripeness with a nice balance of natural acids.
Once picked, the grapes are placed carefully into 15kg cases to minimise skin splitting, then bunch selection and sorting takes place. After destalking, the grapes are fermented in small stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature, allowing for separate small batch vinification. This wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, a third of which are new, before being bottled. In its first vintage, the 2014 it won best Maipo Cab in Chile's acclaimed Descochados wine guide, scoring 94 points.
This wine has a very elegant and fresh nose with lots of black ‘Fruit Pastel’ notes that gives it loads of character. The French oak makes a subtle contribution, lending the wine great complexity. In the mouth it is very concentrated with excellent, smooth, silky and firm tannins. This is a well-balanced, fresh wine, packed with fruit in which the notes of blackcurrants, black cherries and spices are especially notable. It has a long and very persistent finish.
Drink with lean red meats, slow cooked beef or beef ragu.