Yali Wild Swan Merlot 2020

Yali is the wine with an environmental conscience from leading Chilean producer Ventisquero Wine Estates.  Just landed on the UK shores is its Wild Swan Merlot 2020.

Yali is named after the Yali Wetland in central Chile, which has been a CONAF (National Forest Corporation) protected ecological reserve since 1996 and is home to over 176 species of birds, including wild swans.  Ventisquero’s winery is located in the same valley, and was the first winery to obtain the ‘Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile’ accreditation for 100% of its vineyards. 

“We take great care to practice eco-friendly winemaking and have done so for a number of years now,” explains Yali’s winemaker Ángel Marchant.  Ventisquero operates a sustainable management plan in their vineyards, favouring organic products to keep pests and disease in check, and operating controlled irrigation systems to save water.   “Making wine is a creative process that leaves a legacy and should not happen at the expense of our planet,” says Ángel.  “In fact, we have proved that by working in partnership with the environment we can create an even better wine, with increased freshness and intensity.”

Yali Wild Swan Merlot 2020       13% ABV
RRP £ 5.50, Co-Op

Vines are grown in the sandy clay loam of Ventisquero’s Trinidad Vineyard in Maipo.  “The 2020 vintage in Maipo Valley was warmer than usual, but the location of Trinidad Vineyard at 38km from the coast makes the difference,” explains Ángel.  “We have enough influence from the Pacific Ocean to have fresh breezes during the day, so the temperatures in this “terroir” are always moderated by the sea even in warm years.”

The harvest took place from 4th to 30th March, slightly earlier than usual, to preserve the acidity and aromatic potential of the fruit.  This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot with 15% Syrah.  “Merlot performs very well in Trinidad vineyard and the 2020 harvest was, as always, a great year with a little more ripe and fruity flavours,” adds Ángel.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks, at a controlled temperature of 26⁰C to 28⁰C.  Thirty percent of the wine was aged for four months in French oak, and a further six months of bottle-ageing took place prior to release.

The Yali Wild Swan Merlot 2020 has attractive plum and cherry notes, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate.  The tannins are velvety-smooth, to complement its rounded body and the fresh elegance of its red berry character. 

An “everyday, easy-drinking” wine, Ángel recommends pairing the 2020 with “fresh cheese as an aperitif, white meat and pasta” - as well as his favourite Chilean dish, Pastel De Choclo, with its creamy combination of traditional sweetcorn and beef.