In their Los Vascos project, the Domaines Barons de Rothschild marry the advantages of the Chilean terroir with European vinification expertise. High-quality grape varieties are still grown here and processed following a centuries-old tradition.
The story of the Los Vascos winery
The Echenique family, who emigrated from the Basque country to Chile, began growing wine around 1750, close to the small town of Peralillo in Colchagua Province. Vines imported from France were first planted in the Cañeten valley in 1850 and wine exports to Europe began in 1877. This was the start of a story steeped in tradition.
In 1947 a new irrigation system was created to supply the vines with water. The resulting wines, called “Cañetenes”, were to prove very popular. However, this success lost its sheen when, in 1970, Chile's big landowners were dispossessed.
In 1988, following exhaustive research, Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Lafite (DBR Lafite) acquired the winery, which lies 130 metres above sea level and just 40 kilometres from the Pacific, and renamed it “Los Vascos” in honour of its Basque founders. The estate covered 2,200 hectares, 220 of which were planted with vines.
As a winery, there are several factors that work in Los Vascos’ favour: its proximity to the ocean, the soils that are well-suited to cultivating Bordeaux varieties, and the secure water supply.Proximity to the ocean: favourable climate for winegrowingThe warm and sunny climate is particularly conducive to winegrowing, as is the very fertile soil. Another major plus is the almost complete absence of frost in the region around Los Vascos. At around 130 metres, its elevation is also favourable to the creation of high-quality wines. Furthermore, the vintners ensure that the vines are continually supplied with water.Novel additions for vintners at Los VascosThe renaissance of the Los Vascos winery is not down to natural conditions alone. Equally key were the improvements to planting and irrigation by Domaines Barons de Rothschild.Plus, the wine storehouse has been expanded and modernized, with the addition of modern stainless steel tanks, more space, and new presses. The hugely experienced winemakers in Los Vascos continually optimize their work processes and have an unstinting commitment to quality.
Which wines originate in Los Vascos?
The Los Vascos winery has numerous premium wines to offer. The varieties grown are Cabernet Sauvignon (85%), Chardonnay (5%), Syrah (4%), Malbec (1%) and Chardonnay (5%). Viña Los Vascos wines are most distinctive for their abundance of fruit and their structure.
How the wines are stored varies greatly depending on each variety. The wines are kept in both barrels and tanks, resulting in aromas typical of each variety. Each year, nearly half a million crates of wine are produced this way by Las Vascos. Whilst wines such as “Le Dix de Los Vascos” and “Grande Reserve” are largely aged in the barrel, the other wines are destined to be aged in the estate's own tanks.
Domaines Barons de Rothschild strive always to preserve the existing quality of the wines from Los Vascos while also exploring new cultivation options and locations. The unique natural conditions enjoyed by the winery, combined with the winemakers’ wealth of experience, ensure that wine lovers can expect further winemaking innovations in Los Vascos. Curious to know more about wines from Los Vascos? Take a look at the Los Vascos wines in Mondovino’s free wine app.