Do you like your eggs like you like your drink? If the answer is “yes” and “stiff” then you’re in luck. Cachapoal Valley-based Valle Secreto winery have managed to perfectly combine to two to create perfect Cabernet Franc.
It started when they began to replant a hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Working on the soil, they noticed a large number of stones (more than they expected). They wanted to keep the rocks and use them elsewhere…
Recycling Alluvial Rocks
The idea came to Chief Winemaker, Alejandra Vallejo, out of nowhere. She wanted to create concrete eggs, using hand crushed stone, to store and age their Cabernet Franc.
Although it seemed impossible, one contractor took on the challenge and created their first 2,000-litre egg. With no lining, they were uncertain if it would be a suitable way to store and age the alcohol, but they got more than they expected.
Accidentally Aged To Perfection
After trying a sample after 3 months, they aged the Cabernet Franc for another 3 months and has unknowingly created an absolute masterpiece. A drink with an explosion of flavour.
“They were very different at the end. The fruit really comes through. It’s totally different from our Private label. Six months in the egg and the Cabernet Franc had everything that I wanted in it.”
Not Limited To Cabernet Franc
Since the winery’s huge success, they have begun also creating Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in their concrete eggs. But there are a few limitations when it comes to some other drinks.
“The eggs are not lined – we wanted to keep things natural”. But we also want to control the yeast we use during the fermentation, and cleaning the egg is very difficult and we can’t guarantee we can eliminate all of the yeast. We have to use hot water at a high pressure – we can’t use sulphur as this damages the egg.”
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