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Torres claims a Chilean first for wine from slate terraces

Published:  13 August, 2015

Bodegas Torres has produced what it claims is the first Chilean wine to be grown on terraced slate terrain.

Escaleras de Empedrado (meaning stone staircases) is the result of a 20-year project and a US$4 million investment by the Torres family.

The first vintage of Pinot Noir to be released will be from 2012 in a limited run of only 2,400 bottles, which are expected to retail at around €100 each in Europe, though the company said it expected to sell virtually all of the stock ahead of its release in November.

The grapes were grown in the cool climate Empedrado Valley on terraced slate terrain similar to that of Priorat in Spain.

Miguel Torres Maczassek, general manager of Bodegas Torres and president of Miguel Torres Chile, said: "Vines had never been planted in this type of terrain in Chile before and we began experimenting with Priorat varieties, among others.

"However, the climate was too cold and the grapes didn't ripen, so we finally decided to try Pinot Noir, more specifically the French clones 667 and 777, which adapted perfectly to the soils and climate conditions."

The launch of Escaleras de Empedrado is coming 10 years later than the family originally intended because of difficulties with frosts and attacks by birds on the crops.