Matetic Vineyards is one of Chile's most renowned wine producers; the state is a large, hilly property dedicated to the organic production of wine, blueberries and sheep; additionally, they operate an exclusive lodge and a classy restaurant.
Matetic is near the town of Lagunillas, adjacent to the Casablanca wine-producing valley, about 100 km from Santiago de Chile, and just 15 km from the sea. The proximity to the sea causes the temperature to be moderated, resulting in excellent conditions for the white wine varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. However, red varieties such as Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Carmenere also benefit from cooler sea breezes in the afternoon.
Matetic Vineyards. Grape vines grow on the hills behind the old Spanish tiles roofed buildings.
The Matetic family came to Chile from Croatia about 100 years ago. As many Croatian immigrants to the Chilean Patagonia, they acquired large haciendas in the southern tip of the country which they used for sheep and dairy farming. About 20 years ago, the family purchased land in Rosario, Lagunillas. The wine business started in 1999 with the main focus on exports. Profits came for the first time in 2008. Currently, Matetic vineyards expects a production of nearly 30.000 cases to be sent mostly to the United States, Canada and Hong Kong.
Relaxing grassy areas surround the guest house at Matetic Vineyards.
Besides making some of the best Chilean wines, Matetic is recognized as one of the few Chilean estates to apply “biodynamics”, a form of organic production which is expanding in the wine making industry. 120 hectares of organic vineyards have been planted to date. The company claims that the grapes are certified organic by CERES GmbH since 2004.
"La Casona" Guest House has several long covered corridors with large plants in ceramic pots.
The quality of the wines produced at Matetic has gained international recognition. In 2011, expert wine critics of Wine&Spirits Magazine tasted 10,600 wines from worldwide wineries, and Matetic was included among the “100 Wineries of the Year”. The survey included top producers from legendary wine producing regions such as Burgundy in France and Napa Valley in California, and also newcomers to the wine scene such as New Zealand and Slovenia. Three fine wines, two Syrah and one Sauvignon Blanc, are among the selected examples of outstanding quality wines from this winery. In the distinctive style of the tasting notes, the reviewer describes the characteristics of the “San Antonio Corralillo Syrah, 2008”:“Like the juice of fresh, tart blackberries, this wine has a fruity sensation that keeps it lively. Spicy notes develop as well as meaty flavours, but the fruit continues to power through the wine, youthful and very seductive.”
Decanter Magazine’s World Wine Awards includes Matetic’s San Antonio Corralillo Syrah, 2009 among the top ten Organic/Biodynamic wines.
Matetic Vineyards, Lagunillas. "La Casona" Guest House at the right of the picture.
Matetic Vineyards is also active in Wine Tourism. In a privileged location of the state there is a Guest House, called “La Casona” (The Big House) offering seven finely appointed rooms. Near the hotel there is also a gourmet restaurant called “Equilibrio” (Balance) specializing in typical Chilean cuisine including fresh seafood, exquisite preparations of lamb and duck, beautifully crafted desserts, along with the perfect pairing of Matetic wines. Tourists visiting in the appropriate season can also participate in activities such as horseback riding, harvest tours and blueberry picking.
Chile’s wine industry has a long history. Grapes were first introduced from Spain to Peru in 1548, and later on to Chile by the Spanish cleric Fray Francisco de Carabantes. Several Spanish officers, such as Francisco de Aguirre and Rodrigo de Araya, combined battling the fierce Araucanian Indians with wine-growing enterprises. The initial harvests started several years later between 1551 and 1555. After centuries of cultivating rather rustic strains (i.e. Muscatel, Torontel), in the 19th century those varieties began to be replaced with more noble French varieties (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc). By the middle of the 1800s there were around 30.000 hectares of vines planted across several valleys in the central region. During this period, several of the most important and traditional wineries emerged. Those include “Errázuriz”, “Concha y Toro” and “Cousiño Macul”, among others.
Parcial view of Equilibrio Restaurant at Matetic vineyards.
Chile’s geographic isolation, the dry Atacama Desert in the north, the Andes Mountains to the East, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Antarctic to the south, meant that Chilean wineries have been protected from the phylloxera bug that ravaged most of the world’s wine regions since the late 19th century. Chilean wine exports have reached 500 million liters per year, placing Chile fifth among the wine exporting countries.