After a winter with low rainfall and a summer with wide thermal oscillations between day and night, the Maule Valley emerges victorious with a new harvest that results in moderate yields, very healthy grapes and expressive, juicy and concentrated wines.
It is the first of May in the Villa Alegre vineyard, located in the central area of the Maule Valley, and the chief winemaker of Palo Alto, Héctor “Tito” Urzúa, tours the vineyards as he has done so many times in recent weeks. It's been days of a lot of activity. The harvest in the valley began the first week of March and by mid-April almost 90% of the grapes were harvested.
“This concentration of the harvest has demanded a great logistical requirement, since the grapes had to be harvested and received in the cellars in practically six weeks. In addition to this, the first batches in all the varieties were very rushed in their maturity, so grapes of different varieties had to be harvested at the same time, giving each one its respective space and treatment”, explains
Regarding the climatic conditions that marked this harvest, the winemaker explains that last year was a very challenging one, with a winter with a very low level of rainfall, only managing to rebound in early spring, with rains that greatly helped the sprouting and vigor of the vineyards. “Although in climatic terms the harvest was influenced by the drought and a summer with high maximum temperatures, we experienced particularly cold nights in the valley, which helped to have a rich expression of fresh fruit in the grapes harvested and in the wines that will result from them, as well as a very attractive texture and intensity of color”, he says.
Although the volumes of grapes harvested have been lower than the historical average for the valley, Tito indicates that this is also beneficial since it implies a greater concentration of color, aromas and flavors in the fruit, achieving juicy wines with a long finish and easy to drink.
“This vintage will bring very good quality wines from the Maule Valley, and the 2022 reds will be absolutely outstanding. Palo Alto Reserva I Cabernet Blend will be a concentrated, powerful wine with a lot of character, while Palo Alto Reserva II Merlot Blend will also shine for its concentration, and a very clear and present expression of fresh red fruit”, predicts Tito.
From the top of the vineyard you can fully admire the beauty of this time of the year, with the vines revealing their yellow, orange, reddish and light green tones, seeming to rest after a busy harvest. We have reached the end of the route and, once again, the Maule Valley leaves us its best version.