27 Jan Wines of Lagar De Bezana
Jackie , our former and awesome team member recently had the pleasure of traveling to Chile and visited one of our favorite wineries, Lagar De Bezana. Check out some of the notes from her time there!
Lagar De Bezana – A ‘Cult’ Wine
Seated at the feet of the Andes Mountains, in the upper Cachapoal Valley, Lagar De Bezana is 54 hectares of prime Chilean wine country. As one of only 20 small vineyards in the country, Bezana prides itself on creating the highest quality of wine that truly reflects the land the grapes are grown on. Visitors to this estate are first greeted by the winemaker’s friendly pack of dogs, mountain air, and plenty of sunshine. Boarded on two sides by peach orchards and cypress trees, this former apple orchard is undeniably beautiful.
Started in the 1990s by a Santiago, Chile radio station owner, Ricardo Bezanilla, who had discovered his passion for wine, the estate is now run by his widow and managed by Grape Grower and Head Wine Maker Meinard Bloem. Twenty years ago Meinard took a trip through Chile from his homeland in the Netherlands, and with the exception of a few years working on harvests in Germany and France, he planted new roots here. A very knowledgeable and welcoming host, Meinard is always excited to share his life’s work with anyone willing to make the trip to see him. His passion for viticulture and agronomy is evident in the many grafting experiments he has going.
Like all small businesses, Lagar De Bezana must find resourceful ways to meet challenges and conserve resources. By using the natural run off from the Andes and a deep spring to feed the drip irrigation system, the vineyard is able to cut back on water usage. This has been especially important as all of Chile is currently experiencing a drought.
While not a certified organic vineyard, Meinard uses as many natural and sustainable practices as possible. For example – weeds, if unchecked, can choke out a vine and reduce overall production. Teaming up with a local farmer, Meinard reduces the cost of manual labor or the need for weed killers by bringing in a herd of 40 horses each fall to weed for him. This practice also has the added benefits of fertilizing the fields and moving the soil a bit.
All of their wines are estate bottled in their small production facility. Built with a second floor to allow for easy gravitation loading of the tanks and the ability to do punch-downs during the fermentation process. As the grapes ferment, a cap naturally forms on the top of the wine. Punch-downs are when they purposely break this cap to allow a little air in the wine as well as allows more contact with the skins and therefore more extraction! This also helps keep the fermentation process going without the need for additives.
Lagar De Bezana creates high quality wine by keeping production small and focusing on every aspect of the wine making process. Their wines are sold all over Chile and exported to 10 countries throughout the world.
Point of interest – The tasting room has a mural on the wall that was painted by a friend of the owner. It is the same image they use for the label of the wine, Amalgama, that Art of the Table carries, minus a few cigarettes (the wine label police stopped that from coming to the US label…go figure!)