Leyda Wines, the Most Awarded Coastal Winery of Chile.
Recently we were invited for a lunch with Leyda wines. The lunch was hosted in Amsterdam at Restaurant Troef, which opened last march. We started with a nice sparkling wine of Leyda, “Leyda extra Brut”. Which unfortunately is not available on the Dutch market (and therefore not reviewed) A fresh and vibrant sparkling wine made of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the classic method. Characterized by a subtle mousse and some tropical hints of pineapple and mango, a nice start of the day!
Today’s wines come from Leyda Wines, who are part of the VSPT-wine group along with some other Chilean wineries. The wines are imported to the Netherlands by Wijnimport Bart and available for restaurants and stores, but also for consumers through their online shop QV Select.
The Leyda winery started back in 1998, when some pioneers started to plant vines in the valley, which used to be dry land before, thanks to the construction of an 8km aqueduct from the Maipo River. After a few years, in 2001 the brand Leyda was registered, and the first wines were launched in the Valle de San Antonio. In 2002 Leyda proved that their wines represented a new style, achieving the creation of the D.O. Valle de Leyda.
The vineyards are located on the west side of the coastal range of Chile, in the recently formed Leyda Valley, at only 4-12 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. Leyda Valley has a cool climate with a pronounced marine influence and low temperatures, resulting in a slow ripening of the grapes which enhances their natural acidity. In the soil you will find lots of pure granite, granitoid, clay and calcium carbonate, which gives even more minerality to the wines.
Leyda produces wines in 3 ranges, a Reserva line, a Coastal Vineyards line and Leyda Lot.
- Leyda Reserva wines represent the terroir and always aim to respect the fruit and identity of each variety. Most of these wines are expressive, direct, fresh and juicy.
- Leyda Coastal Vineyards wines are made of a selection of the best blocks with grapes. Mostly elegant, mineral and complex with some creaminess on the palate.
- Leyda Lot wines are meant to capture the valley’s maximum potential and the purest expression of each variety. Only grapes from small polygons are selected and only 5000 bottles per vintage are made. Next to these lines Leyda also produces a sparkling extra brut and a rosé from pinot noir, both not for the Dutch market.
All wines are made by head winemaker Viviana Navarette. And all vineyards are in the hands of Tomás Rivera. The two of them worked together for over 10 years and won prize after prize for their wines, the winemaking and for being a golden duo for the Leyda Valley.
The Wines & Pairings
As mentioned we started the lunch with a glass of Extra brut. When we took place at the table we got some nice appetizers to start, accompanied by two Sauvignon Blancs. A glass of Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2022 and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Coastal Vineyards 2021. On the table some oysters with eel and beurre blanc, a perfect balance between the fatness of the eel and the smooth saltiness of the oyster. Next to that a small potato rosti with caviar, some Coppa di Parma and some radicchio with “Wilde Weide” (a Dutch cheese). The oyster was matched perfectly with the Leyda Reserva Sauvignon, the crispness in the wine and the minerality goes well with the fat of the eel and the creamy rich taste of the beurre blanc.
As for the Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2022 itself; grapes from red clay and granitic, resulting in juiciness in the wine. Manually harvested (as all the grapes at Leyda) after which 70% of the grapes were destemmed and 30% pressed as whole clusters. Fermented for 18 days in stainless steel and aged over fine lees for 4 months with weekly bâtonnage. A nice yellow pale color in the glass with a citrus, grapefruit sense in the nose. Some lime and mandarins along with some herbaceous notes like freshly mown grass and verbena. In the mouth well-balanced crispy, racy acidity and a creamy citrus taste in the finish. We award this wine with a 90-point DWA score.
The Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Coastal Vineyards 2021 ‘Garuma’ really suited the radicchio with the flavorful cheese. For the wine itself: harvested from granite soils and some calcareous plots. All grapes were pressed as whole clusters and the juice was fermented in stainless steel and used 400-liter barrels for 18 days, at low temperatures. After aging for 7 months the 80% on stainless steel was blended with the 20% wine from the barrels. A fresh wine with tones of lemon, green chili, white pepper, limes and grapefruit in its nose. On the palate a touch of creaminess but mostly mineral, vibrant and crisp. Bit of calcium in the aftertaste but overall refreshing and citrusy. We award this wine with a 93-point DWA score.
As a first course we got served Seabass with oyster creme and dill, Panzanella with watermelon and strawberry and Dutch eel with horseradish and potato. This first course was paired with the Leyda Chardonnay Reserva 2022 and the Leyda Chardonnay Coastal Vineyards ‘Falaris Hill’ 2020, which both performed very well with the seabass and eel. The fruitiness in the wines really broke down some of the fat in the dishes.
As for the wines, the Leyda Chardonnay Reserva 2022; Harvested at the ‘El Granito’ vineyard just 4 kilometers from the Ocean. This location helps to keep the wine fruity and fresh. By doing the fermentation in stainless steel for 16-17 days, and aging the wine for 5 months with some bâtonnage, the wine got a creamy side to its character as well. No malolactic fermentation, to keep the PH low and retain the crisp acidity in the wine. Medium aroma’s in the nose such as white fruit, peaches, pears and green cherimoyas. Along with some citrus and lime, on the palette a creamy texture, with a fresh acidity that lengthens the finish. We award this wine with a 90-point DWA score.
For the Leyda Chardonnay Coastal Vineyard ‘Falaris’ 2020; This one comes from the same vineyard and soil as the previous wine, but the fermentation method is different and it took place in concrete, some untoasted foudres and small 225-liter barrels. The wine is a final blend of 45% deriving from the concrete vats, 13% out of the foudres and 42% of the barrels. Total aging time was 10 months with bâtonnage every 15 days in the last 2 months. All of this results in a strong intense nose with floral notes, ripe citrus, orange zest and herbaceous notes in the second layer. Creamy texture on the palate but still a fresh acidity, giving way to a mineral sensation and long finish, with ripe white fruit as melon and pears. We award this wine with a 94-point DWA score.
Second Course (starter)
For the second course we enjoyed the Leyda Chardonnay Lot 5 2020, served with green asparagus in cream sauce and a brioche with mussels, cucumber, sauce of Pernod and bacon. The brioche with mussels proved to be a good match with the wine, especially with the nutty and almond flavor in the wine. The citrussy aspect give more length to both the dish and the wine.
About the Leyda Chardonnay Lot 5 2020; The wine was harvested from a gravel rich and stone soil, with some red clay, giving it a creamy and oily texture. The grapes were pressed at no more than 0.8 bar to get high quality juice and then the wine is aged and fermented in the same way as the Coastal Vineyard Chardonnay. This wine has a bit more of a golden color and is more intense and complex in the nose. Tones of mandarins, orange, lime and melon but also some butter and brioche with hazelnut and almonds in the finish. The wine has a vibrant acidity and a fruity finish with a creamy texture. We award this wine with a 93-point DWA score.
Third Course (main)
As a main course a tenderloin was served with green olives, pepper and capers. This dish was accompanied by the full line of Pinot Noirs (3) side-by-side. The three wines: Pinot Noir Reserva, Coastal Vineyards and Lot 21, 2019.
The Coastal Vineyards really had some freshness and depth in it to perfectly match the saltiness of the capers and the subtle taste of the soft meat. The Lot maybe overpowered the dish a little bit, but it was definitely interesting to taste the three alongside each other.
About the wines, The Leyda Pinot Noir Reserva 2022; mostly from granite soils, the grapes were all destemmed and pressed into stainless steel. Most was fermented for 10-12 days and then 20 % of the juice was aged for 6 months in small barrels before re-blending with the other 80% in stainless steel. The wine has a pale ruby color and is subtle in the nose with soft fruit like blueberries and sour cherries. A little herbal tone and some velvet tannins in the aftertaste. The wine was poured at 15 degrees Celsius, which was absolutely perfect. We award this wine with a 89-point DWA score.
The Leyda Coastal Vineyards Pinot Noir 2021; Perfectly balanced Pinot Noir from iron rich soils, harvested late because of the altitude. Half of the grapes ferment in open tanks and the other half in stainless steel. After fermentation the wine ages for 10 months in concrete, stainless steel and small barrels. Resulting in a medium body wine with tones of raspberries, cherries, figs and some strawberries. A little spicy note and a hint of citrus. The influence of granite can be felt in the texture and tannic grip, along with a long fresh finish. We award this wine with a 95-point DWA score.
As last wine we tasted the Leyda Pinot Noir Lot 21 from 2017; This is the top cuvee of Leyda, with grapes from 3 different soils, limestone, red clay and red granitic. 35% of the grapes are pressed as whole clusters, adding minerality and structure to the wine. Alcoholic fermentation for 7 days and then aging for 10 months in a combination of concrete eggs, French oak and 2000-liter casks. The result is a floral and perfumed nose, with hints of cherry, cassis, raspberries and blueberries. Also, some soft herbal tones and a little earthy mushroom. The palette offers a fresh taste, with a firm backbone and some vibrant strong tannins, not too overpowering. We award this wine with a 92-point DWA score.
A perfectly balanced series of Pinot Noirs, from a great cool climate terroir!
We definitely had a great lunch at Restaurant Troef, such high-quality dishes and perfectly balanced to pair the wines. We also totally understand why Leyda is the most awarded coastal winery of Chile. Perfectly balanced wines and definitely cool climate coastal wines. All clear, clean and fresh with some complexity and balance even in the “simple” Reserva line. A winery with a very good price-quality rate and wines with no nonsense. Definity worth discovering yourselves.
This event was covered by our own Martijn Coenen. We would like to thank Wijnimport Bart and Pitch PR for organizing this excellent event, and of course VPST, Leyda Wines, for their excellent wines and Restaurant Troef for the great food. Picture credits: @wesleyolland