Proudly representing one of the finest regions in Chile
Domus Aurea, literally Golden House, is owned by the Pena Family. It is located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and utilizes the fruit of one of Chile’s finest vineyards, the Clos Quebrada de Macul. This 61-acre site was planted back in 1970 and soon became the top-quality fruit that was sold to numerous fine wineries. In 1996, Isabel and Ricardo Pena decided to start their own winery with Domus Aurea as the cream of their production.
Selection of the grapes is paramount at Domus Aurea, and is done on a vine- by-vine basis. The vineyard occupies a 45-degree slope that guarantees excellent drainage and near perfect growing conditions. Classic French winemaking techniques are utilized to produce a wine that can compete with the finest international entries on an even basis. Since their debut in the mid 1990’s, Domus Aurea has gained wide acceptance and scored extremely high in wine competitions and wine industry periodicals.
While Domus Aurea must be considered a new wave winery, its success is mostly due to the fact that the Clos Quebrada de Macul vineyard is one of the finest in Chile and produces remarkable fruit.
Maipo Valley, Chile
Located in Chile’s Central Valley, just outside Santiago, Domus Area enjoys single vineyard status for its 45 acres. Actually part of the sub region Maipo Valley, it is a warm-but-not-hot growing area that benefits from the rocky alluvial soils of the Maipo River. It receives less rainfall than most of the other Chilean growing regions, a fact that benefits its’ mostly Cabernet and red varietal vines.
A Short History of Chilean Wines
It is a proven fact that no wine producing country has come further during the past three decades to improve its standing in international wine circles than Chile. Once the horrendous political problems and the non-progressive economic atmosphere that those problems evoked were overcome during the late 1970’s, Chile’s wine industry stepped to the plate and has subsequently hit the proverbial home run.
Fueled by a plethora of smaller, state-of-the-art artisan wineries (labeled by the international press as Chile’s New Wave Wineries), Chile’s status has risen mercurially until it today ranks on par with other truly great wine producing nations. Chile has always been a good producer, but, at present it seems to have elevated itself to the status of a great producer.
There are two reasons for such an occurrence. First, the resurgence of many older, established wine producers who upgraded their facilities and expanded their portfolios. These established wineries also included certain grape varietals that were internationally accepted as marquee varietals. Secondly, the newcomers to the Chilean wine spectacle (boutique-style wineries) were practically instantaneously successful and that fact created a competitively driven environment for the entire industry.
It is a joy to see such great wines emanating from practically all growing sections of the suddenly wine crazy country. Nearly perfect conditions are available throughout most of the Andean highlands that dominate Chile’s marvelous vineyard sites. Growers in many other countries lament the fact that their own vineyards pale in comparison to many of Chile’s quality growing areas. Some foreign wineries have actually established satellite winery operations in Chile to take advantage of both the climactic accommodations and the marketing potential of the growth spurt of Chilean wines as a whole.
Whereas, as late as two decades ago, only a handful of Chilean wines were available in restaurants and quality wine stores, it is now entirely possible to see large Chilean sections on wine lists and well-stocked Chilean sections in stores around the country. Many importers have chosen to import some of these smaller producers directly, a fact that makes for a fun environment when selecting new wines or trying to match specific dishes.
It will be interesting to see just how far this Chilean wine explosion will proceed. So far, there seems to be no reason for it to subside, and the straight fact is that Chile’s wines are continuing to improve. The Chilean winemakers have always counted on using a number of European winemaking techniques, and this has proven to be a wise choice over the years.
With the excellent weather and productive Andean soils to bolster the actual rootstock, there seems to be no real end in sight for Chile’s continued wine growth. We look forward to featuring additional Chilean selections for our International Series.
Jean-Pascal Lacaze - Winemaker
Jean-Pascal Lacaze hails from a winemaking family in Bordeaux. He brings a French/Uruguayan/Chilean background to Domus Aurea that is both classical and well planned.
He also serves a winemaker to several of the Clos Quebrada de Macul family of wines. Lacaze strives for specific, Bordeaux-style wines with great character and excellent longevity. His wines will be around for many years to come.