The other day I attended this years Wines of Chile Annual Trade Tasting, there were so many wines that I had decided not to try everything, but to concentrate on the newer regions and less familiar wines; this policy brought me to Viña Leyda. I have tasted some of their wines before and often use their second label wines, Secano Estate – available from Marks & Spencer, at tastings and in my classes. However, I was now given the chance to try a wide range of the wines that they produce and I was greatly impressed.
As you might imagine the estate is in the Leyda Valley, a sub-region of the San Antonio Valley that has enjoyed Denomination de Origin status since 2002.
Viña Leyda was founded in 1998 and is the pioneer here, putting in a lot of investment to make the area suitable for grape growing. For instance there was no water for irrigation, so a pipeline was built to bring water from the Maipo River some 8 km away.
They chose this site because the Pacific Ocean with its cooling Humboldt Current is just 14 km away. The cooling breezes and sea mists give the area a long, slow and cool growing season that enables them to grow delicate grapes with great results.
The main grape varieties that they grow are: Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, together with a little Sauvignon Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
All in all these were good wines, very well made and above all elegant. Perhaps it is the cool climate, the cold night time temperatures, the care taken in the vineyard, or just possibly the fact that the chief winemaker is a woman?
Whatever the reason, Viviana Navarrette can be happy that the wines she makes are truly living up to the name of the winery and their valley as the word is originally a Greek shortening of Letitia which means ‘happiness’, or ‘joy’.