Viña Tabalí, Limarí Valley, Chile   
Exploring the diversity of Chile's Vineyards, Part 4

Tabali's Talinay vineyard

The next stop on our journey was in Limarí. It’s one of Chile’s newer wine regions, and it’s up north. Not as far north as Elqui, but pretty far north all the same. I’m glad we weren’t driving.

We were off to see Tabalí, the sister winery to Viña Leyda, both of which are owned by Guillermo Luksic (it’s very common for Chilean wineries to be owned by extremely rich dudes as a sort of side line). 

We met with winemaker Felipe Müller (left, above) and viticulturist Hector Rojas (right, above).

Tabali were pioneers in this region, and began planting vines in 1993. Now they have 180 hectares on their own farm, and also sizeable holdings elsewhere in the region. Annual rainfall here is a measly 90 mm, which means that viticulture simply couldn’t take place without irrigation. 

The typical soils in Limarí are clay and chalk with a high proportion of stones (most of which are volcanic in origin). But these soils typically have just a small proportion of limestone. But Felipe and Hector took us to a new 65 hectare vineyard that they are very proud of: Talinay.

Talinay is just 12 km from the coast (Tabalí’s home vineyards are some 25 km inland), and its remarkable feature is its extremely high proportion of limestone in the soil (around 40%). They reckon there is nowhere else quite like it in Chile. It is an old marine terrace that has been brought up to the surface, so this bit of Limarí doesn’t have the alluvial profile that the rest of the valley does. 

‘Talinay is for me a very interesting blend between power and elegance,’ says Müller. ‘The grapes have a much richer volume and high acidity levels.’ 2009 was the first vintage from this vineyard. 

Hector Rojas has some interesting things to say about clones. ‘I don’t think the clone is so important,’ he says. ‘It is 90% place. You want a healthy plant with no virus and no fungus in the wood, planted in the right place.’ 

The modernistic winery was built in 2004, and is covered, but the sides are open to the elements. It’s quite striking, and processes 1300 tons a year.

UK agent is Boutinot.


Viña Tabalí Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Limarí, Chile
13.5% alcohol. 50% each of Tabali and Talinay fruit. Fresh citrussy nose with some mineral and herb notes. The palate is taut and fresh with some green pepper notes and nice acidity. Fresh and crisp. 88/100

Viña Tabalí Caliza Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Limarí, Chile
This is all from the Talinay vineyard. Salty, mineral nose is fresh, pure and tight. The palate shows amazing power and intensity, with pure citrus fruit and grapefruit freshness. 91/100 (Wine Society, Virgin Wines)

Viña Tabalí Reserva Chardonnay unoaked 2010 Limarí, Chile
Chardonnay was the first variety to put Limarí on the map. Fresh with pure citrus and pineapple fruit. The palate has nice pure fruit with bold peach and melon notes, as well as more pineapple. Attractive white pepper and spice characters, too. 89/100

Viña Tabalí Talinay Chardonnay 2009 Limarí, Chile
Tight, fine, precise nose is restrained with subtle mineral notes and some faint citrus hints. The palate is fine and taut with restrained fruit – citrus, a hint of pineapple – and really intense acidity. Quite serious but currently very youthful and in need of time. 92/100

Viña Tabalí Reserva Especial Chardonnay 2009 Limarí, Chile
Fine nose is pure with nut and straw notes as well as a bit of creaminess. The palate has subtle toasty notes and broad, nutty, slightly buttery characters. Stylish and fresh. 89/100

Viña Tabalí Reserva Viognier 2010 Limarí, Chile
Very attractive aromatic nose is fruity and rounded with peach and apricot notes. The palate is rounded with apricot and spice characters. Accessible and delicious. 89/100 (£7.99 Virgin Wines)

Viña Tabalí Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2009 Limarí, Chile
Nice pale cherry colour. Vibrant nose of fresh cherry and red berry fruit. The palate has bright cherry fruit coupled with a savoury, spicy, earthy edge. 88/100 (retail £9.99)

Viña Tabalí Talinay Pinot Noir 2009 Limarí, Chile
Beautifully fine, earthy, chalky mineral nose with some red cherry fruit. The palate has tight cherry fruit with real concentration and high acidity. Savoury, mineral and structured, this is a serious wine. 94/100 (retail £16.99)

Viña Tabalí Reserva Syrah Encantado 2009 Limarí, Chile
Aromatic nose of blackberry, violet and raspberry. Smooth and sweet with hints of meatiness. The palate is fresh and peppery with lovely ripe dark fruits and a hint of meat/olive savouriness. 90/100 (£7.99 Waitrose)

Viña Tabalí Reserva Especial Syrah 2008 Limarí, Chile
Ripe and quite dense with some spicy, meaty tarry notes behind the sweet blackberry fruit. Concentrated and dense with a savoury, tarry, earthy quality and some black olive/tapenade character. Drying finish. Quite new world in style. 89/100 (£9.99 The Wine Society)

Viña Tabalí Payen 2007 Limarí, Chile
100% Syrah from the best vineyard plots. Older vines on clay over alluvial profile with some limestone. 90% new oak for ageing; Taransaud with 5 years drying. Sweet, pure, lush blackberry fruit nose with a creamy edge. The palate is lush and elegant with some smooth yet prominent tannins providing structure. It’s ripe and sweet but there is some elegance here. Needs time to put on complexity. 93/100 (c. £30)

See a video of the Talinay Vineyard:


Part 1, Dos Andes: Veranda and Agustinos, Bio Bio
Part 2, Viña Leyda, Leyda
Part 3, Viña Ventisquero, Apalta
Part 4, Viña Tabalí, Limarí
Part 5, Casas del Bosque, Casablanca
Part 6, Viña Falernia/Mayu, Elqui

See also:

Photographs from Limari Valley, Chile
Visiting Chile's wine regions (a series from a visit in 2008)

Published 03/12  
Wines tasted 12/10

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