For my second visit in Uruguay, I headed to the hills of Pueblo Edén, 20 km from the coast near Punta del Este in the Maldonado wine region. This is where Mauricio Zlatkin has established an impressive project, and has ambitious plans for developing it further.
Mauricio was originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and spent 30 years as a derivatives trader. He came to live in Uruguay in 2003, and then purchased this property in 2005. ‘We have 608 acres with only 22 acres (7 hectares) planted,’ he says. For the rest of the property, he has a project that involves private vineyards and ranches. ‘The vineyard we have produces 50-60 000 bottles a year of high quality wine, but we have a 200 000 bottle capacity.’ So the idea is for people to buy their own vineyards here, and then, should they wish, make the wines here too.
‘They purchase the vineyard and they pay a fixed monthly fee that includes everything from April 1 to March 30. The cycle finishes with the harvest and now they have the fruit. Once they have the fruit they can process everything here, or they can sell the fruit,’ explains Maurizio. ‘It is a nice way that we can share the costs. It’s like the uber of winemaking.’
Maurizio arrived in Montivideo in 2003 and was trading from his apartment. But the big crisis in Argentina in 2001/2 meant that all the real estate property prices were very depressed. ‘I was very liquid because I had been a trader for a long time,’ he says. ‘I started purchasing land and properties and this was one of those. It came with a beautiful 100 year old house. In 2008 I decided to move here and I started this project.’
The winery was conceived to be eco-friendly, and also with the social part next to the production part. They make double their energy needs with wind and solar. Wine tourism is one of their founding principles, and so there is a tasting room and restaurant with stunning views.
The proximity to the sea means that there’s a strong wind most days bringing the temperature down, and reducing disease pressure. The vines are planted in small blocks on granitic soils, with good drainage. The fertility is low. The vines were planted in 2008, and then again in 2018 with the addition of some Marselan blocks. All the vineyards have drip irrigation.
Most of the reds are fermented in concrete. All their concrete fermenting tanks are epoxy lined. For ageing they have some unlined concrete tanks. The winemaking is based on a minimal intervention philosophy, to keep the identity of the terroir. Fermentations arte inoculated, though and sometimes acidity is corrected. Usually for the reds this isn’t needed, and it’s never done for the sparkling.
Viña Edén Methode Champenoise Brut Nature 2015 Maldonado, Uruguay
12.5% alcohol, pH 3.1. Base is 2015, no dosage. 85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir. Base wine matured in stainless steel. This is powerful and concentrated with intense pithy notes alongside bright citrus and white peach fruit, with lively acidity. Has subtle toasty hints in the background, and a hint of smokiness So vivid, fruity and intense. 91/100
Viña Edén Methode Champenoise Brut Rosé NV Maldonado, Uruguay
Base wine 2017, colour comes from the press only. 92% Pinot Noir, 8% Chardonnay. Has an orange/pink colour. This is broad and fruit-driven with some cherry and wild strawberry, but also appealing citrus and pear notes and a slight savouriness on the finish. Very attractive. 89/100
Viña Edén Chardonnay 2017 Maldonado, Uruguay
Presented in a dark frosted glass bottle. Pressed in inertys and then fermented in stainless steel. 12.2% alcohol. This is bright and expressive with clean, pure fruit. Very appealing citrus notes with a twist of honeysuckle and canteloup melon. Has really enticing pure fruit, showing nice balance and freshness. 90/100
Viña Edén Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 Maldonado, Uruguay
13% alcohol. From a high-density planted vineyard. Pressed in an Inertys press for 3 hours. Pink/orange colour. This is quite textural with a savoury edge and appealing cherry fruit with some melon and pear richness. It’s dry but very rounded and fruity. Aged for 9 months in stainless steel on lees. Has some nice sour cherry notes on the finish, which is warm and slightly savoury. Intriguing wine. 90/100
Viña Edén Pueblo Edén Chardonnay 2018 Maldonado, Uruguay
This is the cheaper line (USD15 in Uruguay, as opposed to $27). It’s Inertys pressed and then fermented and aged in stainless steel. No lees contact. 4000 bottles made. Fruity, generous and expressive with a hint of cabbage alongside rich pear and peach fruit. It’s dry, but has nice rounded fruit, with a hint of reduction adding some interest, and notes of apple on the finish. 88/100
Viña Edén Pueblo Edén Rosé 2018 Maldonado, Uruguay
Pinot Noir. Crushed and left two days before pressing. Deep pink in colour, this is dry but with rich sweet strawberry fruit and nice rounded texture. Nice juiciness on the finish. A really fun richer style of rosé. 87/100
Viña Edén Methode Champenoise 3D Sur Lies NV Maldonado, Uruguay
It’s the same wine as tasted before, but not disgorged. Wax over crown cap. Cloudy pale yellow colour. It has a fresh yeasty, spicy nose with some citrus notes, and the palate is fresh and has a lovely savoury, spicy kick and a mouthfilling texture. Has brightness but also fruit, and an extra dimension from the lees. Long finish. 92/100
Viña Edén Pueblo Edén Tannat 2018 Maldonado, Uruguay
Fermented in lined concrete tanks and then aged in unlined concrete. 13.8% alcohol. Ripe, smooth and rounded with lovely berry fruits, and a hint of cherry. Has a sweet core to the fruit with a rounded mouthfeel and nice softness to the fruit. Very drinkable and easy, but has some nice weight and it’s dry. 88/100
Viña Edén Tannat Cemento 2017 Maldonado, Uruguay
15% alcohol. Fermented in lined concrete tanks then aged for 18 months in unlined concrete. It’s rich, smooth and ripe with bold berry fruits. Quite lush and textural with some mineral notes underneath the ripe fruit. There are savoury notes of olives and dried herbs, too. Quite ripe, but lots of interest. 93/100
Viña Edén Tannat Reserva 2017 Maldonado, Uruguay
14.1% alcohol. Begins in concrete tanks, then a third of the wine goes to new and first-fill barrels. It has an intense blackcurrant and blackberry nose with some floral overtones and also some spice and cedar. Lovely direct palate with good structure and some taut oak spice supporting the vivid berry fruits. Pure, linear and sophisticated. Should age nicely, and the oak will merge with the fruit after a short time in bottle. 93/100 (USD36)
Viña Edén Cerro Negro Gran Reserva 2017 Maldonado, Uruguay
13.3% alcohol. This is named after the hill the winery is set into. 45% Tannat, 20% Merlot and 35% Marselan. 60% aged in concrete, 40% in French and American oak (new and first fill). Supple and quite fleshy with appealing cherry and berry fruits, with some savoury, spicy undercurrents. Lovely freshness here, with nice integration of the oak. Has a bit of meaty depth, too. Very stylish with nice weight and ripeness. 92/100 (US$45)
Viña Edén Cerro Negro Gran Reserva 2016 Maldonado, Uruguay
Powerful with nice spiciness and good structure. Has ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit. Lovely elegance here despite the richness. Shows blackberries, spice and some minerals with some oak, but it’s well integrated. Very sophisticated and quite powerful. 94/100
Viña Edén Licor de Tannat 2019 Maldonado, Uruguay
Made in a Port style with fermentation arrested by adding spirit. 170 g/l residual sugar, 17% alcohol. This is rich and very sweet with a slight curranty edge to the ripe berry fruits. Has a jammy quality. Lovely fruit here: this is very tasty and accessible. 90/100
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