Santa Rita was founded in 1880, a boom time for Chile while the rest of the world suffered the scourge of phylloxera. Chile was, and remains, a viticultural paradise, with Andean snowmelt for irrigation, low summer rainfall promoting healthy grapes, and the continued absence of phylloxera in the soil obviating the cost of grafted vines. Santa Rita was a driving force from the very start; the founder, Domingo Fernández, introduced not just French equipment and expertise but also electricity to the Alto Jahuel region, where the winery is still based. As Chile’s second largest owner of vineyards, Santa Rita can draw on a great diversity of terroir, where the various grape varieties can be matched to the soil and climate of individual regions.
The two winemakers, Cecilia Torres and Andrés Ilabaca, have made the most of this exceptional resource in their comprehensive range. Gran Hacienda expresses the pristine varietal character of Chilean fruit; selected vineyard sites give the Reserva wines greater intensity and structure. The Medalla Real range is all single-estate, bringing added focus and terroir character, attributes which are particularly key to Floresta, a selection of limited edition wines from the most exciting vineyard areas. The focus is back on the grape with Triple C, unique in the prominence given to Cabernet Franc. The range is crowned with Casa Real; from a single vineyard planted in the 1950s, it ranks amongst Chile’s very greatest wines.