It has been a great year for Leyda and its winemaker, Viviana Navarrete, who was recently selected as winemaker of the year by Tim Atkin in his latest report “Chile 2020: Special Report”.
The acknowledgment comes as part of the British critic’s comprehensive report he made following his visit to Chile in December, which involved him traveling across the Chilean wine country for two months right from the desert in the Huasco Valley, to the southern tip of Chile in Patagonia.
In the report, Atkin acknowledged that the incorporation of women in the industry has been a key factor which has produced positive results in Chile. In particular, he draws attention to the work carried out by the winemaker for Viña Leyda: “Viviana Navarrete from Viña Leyda is my Winemaker of the Year. The industry for Chilean wine is very rich thanks to her talent, dedication, kindness and charm”.
Furthermore, Viña Leyda was acknowledged among the First Growth or Premier Cru Classé group –that is to say among Chile’s best producers– with over 10 wines scoring 90 points or over. This once again strengthens its position as Chile’s most acclaimed Coastal Winery.
In this context, the Leyda Lot 21 Pinot Noir 2018, Leyda Lot 8 Syrah 2018 and Leyda Lot 4 Sauvignon Blanc 2019 each stood out with 95 points. The latter was described as follows: “This world-class Sauvignon Blanc comes from a single, north-facing parcel on granite and silt soils. Made with the 317 clone from Sancerre and fermented in a combination of barrels, foudres and concrete eggs, it’s saline, vivacious and concentrated with wonderful balance and length”.
In turn, the Leyda Lot 21 Pinot Noir 2018 from the Leyda Valley was described as “the best of Viña Leyda’s impressive range of Pinot Noirs. This combines fruit from three different soil types and is made with Clone 777 and a massal selection. Nuanced, sappy and effortlessly concentrated, with aromatic whole bunch spices and a core of sweet bramble and red berry fruit”.
The remaining wine in this group of stars is the Leyda Lot 8 Syrah 2018: “Lot 8 consists of just 15 rows of north-east facing vineyard and is planted with the ultra-spicy 470 clone. Even in a warmer site, the coolness of the vintage is apparent here, with sappy red berry fruit on the palate, 20% whole bunches for grip, too notes of white pepper and fine tannins.”
The Leyda Lot 5 Chardonnay 2018 followed with 94 points: “Lot 5 is the source of the top Chardonnay from Viviana Navarrete and is planted with the spicy Clone 76. Lightly wooded, with some concrete egg fermentation and no malolactic, it has notes of white pepper and vanilla and a taut, vibrant finish”.
Then there were the Leyda Single Vineyard Cahuil Pinot Noir 2018 and the Leyda Single Vineyard Neblina Riesling 2019, both of which scored 92 points. With regards to the first, Atkin commented how “‘earthy’ is the word Viviana Navarrete uses to describe this Pinot Noir, produced from the 115 and 828 clones and fermented with 15% whole clusters. Sappy, fresh and very lightly wooded with good underlying concentration and zip, some forest floor notes and attractive minerality.” says Atkin.
eanwhile, the Leyda Single Vineyard Neblina Riesling 2019 is “grown close to the river and produced from a massal selection, this bone-dry Riesling spends seven months on its lees and combines stainless steel and old barrel-fermented portions. Pale and delicate, with jasmine aromas, it’s balanced, elegant and refined with a very low pH”.
The Leyda Single Vineyard Canelo Syrah 2017 received 91 points and is described as “the cheaper of the two Syrahs from Viña Leyda and ‘made like a Pinot Noir’, according to Viviana Navarrete, with minimal extraction. The result has appealing sweet spices, nuanced oak and vibrant red berry and black cherry fruit with good color and a fresh, tangy finish”.
The Leyda Single Vineyard Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2018 scored the same, 91 points, and Atkin highlights how “Viviana Navarrete uses three clones (16, 115 and 777) to make this foudre, egg and barrel-aged Pinot Noir from granite and iron-rich soils. Sappy, bright and charming, it’s the lightest, brightest and most approachable of her reds.”
The Leyda Single Vineyard Kadun Sauvignon Gris 2019 also received 91 points, and was described as follows: “Viña Leyda’s Sauvignon Gris is always a little fatter and broader than its Sauvignon Blanc, which is one reason why it’s worth trying both wines. With 30% fermentation in 400-liter barrels, this has white pepper and stone fruit flavors and appealing texture”.
Both the Leyda Single Vineyard Falaris Hill Chardonnay 2018 and the Leyda Single Vineyard Garuma Sauvignon Blanc 2019 placed at the bottom of the list with 90 points. The Chardonnay is described as: “Pithy, grapefruity and very fresh, this very lightly wooded Chardonnay is made with the tangy, citrus-like Clone 95 and combines notes of subtle vanilla and nutmeg spice and some leesy texture”.
Meanwhile, with regards to the Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Single Vineyard, he points out how it is “produced entirely with the UC Davis Clone 1, which tends to make very taut, pithy wines, this very lightly wooded Sauvignon Banc comes from granite and calcium carbonate soils and is tangy, earthy and chiselled with mouth-watering acidity”.