75cl * Vegan * 13.5% ABV * Aconcagua Coast, Chile
Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. In 2020, Aurelio Montes’ illustrious career and efforts were recognised in the form of the International Wine Challenge’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Montes wines are consistently good because they are meticulous throughout the entire production process. For instance, the Sauvignon Blancs are lifted and fresh, their varietal character derived from growing the grapes in the right place and picking them when they are ripe and not, as many in Chile seem to do, by picking them green for herbaceous notes, which they believe is the mark of the variety.
The Outer Limits wines were born out of Aurelio Montes' desire to push Chilean viticulture in a new direction. The 45 hectare vineyard in the Aconcagua Valley was Montes' first venture into the 'outer limits'. Just 7 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean and located in the northern part of the Aconcagua Costa winemaking region, Viña Montes is the only winery with vines planted in the new D.O. of Zapallar. The area is characterised by cool, cloudy summer mornings, midday warmth, and afternoons that see clouds reappearing bringing back low temperatures.
These conditions lead to a slow ripening of the grapes that allow them to develop complexity and powerful aromas, and the 2021 vintage has particularly good acidity, freshness, structure and length. The grapes were hand picked in the cool early morning, then bunches were carefully selected, destemmed, and cold-soaked for optimal extraction of aromatic components from the skins. The wine was held on its lees for six to eight months before filtration and bottling.
The resulting wine is pale yellow in colour with greenish hues, and complex aromas of pineapple, guava, pear and hints of grapefruit. On the palate, it is fresh and light-bodied with a vibrant natural acidity and notes of boxwood and tomato leaf. A subtle saline touch on the finish hints at the rocky mountain soils and coastal influence.
Although drinking beautifully now, the Outer Limits wines have great aging potential thanks to their balance and concentration.