There are many factors that contribute to the uniqueness of El Principal wines, and one of the most important is its exceptional terroir. The Andetelmo Estate now consists of 90 hectares of vineyards in the Alto Maipo Valley (D.O Maipo Andes), at the foot of the Andes Mountains, 750 to 950 meters above sea level.
Geographical influences have generated a diversity of soil types that allow each grape variety to reach its finest expression and lend a particular character to the wines. The varied soils present a true mosaic of colluvial, alluvial, and gravel-cone collections and deposits. The hills have light-colored clay marbled with lime sediments, stone, and gravel, which allows for good drainage.
Furthermore, the mineral-rich waters of the Maipo River that flows through the vineyard also lend subtle complexity to the wines.
The cooling effects of the Andean winds and the Humboldt Current create particular climate conditions and a broad daily temperature oscillation of more than 20ºC. This slows the ripening process and allows the grapes to develop intense fruit flavors with high concentrations of polyphenols, deep color, and ripe, elegant tannins.
El Principal wines are made exclusively with grapes grown at the Andetelmo Estate in the Alto Maipo Valley. The vineyard has been mapped into micro-zones that consider soil, altitude, solar exposure, and climate to identify the perfect blocks for producing the best quality grapes for each wine.
The grapes are harvested entirely by hand with controlled production and the sorting of clusters both in the field and again at the winery. The grapes are lifted to the top of the tanks to achieve gentle gravity-flow filling and thus avoid using pumps. The vinification process begins with a 5-day cold maceration at 8º–10ºC, followed by alcoholic fermentation, which lasts 8–14 days at temperatures that fluctuate between 28ºC and 30ºC using gentle manual pumpovers managed in accordance with the concentration and degree of ripeness of the grapes to ensure a gentle and controlled extraction.
This traditional Bordeaux vinification process and later ageing in French oak ensures the inimitable character of El Principal wines that reflect the elegance and identity of their terroir.