The vineyard is in the vicinity of Botalcura, a small village in the coastal area of the Maule River Valley, located about 3 hours south of Santiago, a region that was devastated by the earthquake that struck central-southern Chile in 2010. Botalcura, a word from the Mapudungun language
spoken by the Mapuche Indians, original inhabitants of central Chile and Argentina, means Piedra Grande
The charming town of Botalcura has a single row of houses lining a dirt road and is home for about 200 modest and gentle peasants. It belongs to the Municipality of Pencahue
. Both the town of Botalcura and the vineyard are in an area of great natural beauty, amidst rolling hills occupied by native birds such as partridges, “choroy” parrots and black-necked swans. Especially abundant is the elusive California quail (Callipepla californica
), the exotic bird whose image the company has adopted to grace the labels of its main lines of wines.
To date Botalcura Vineyards
has been known for its two main lines of wine: "La Porfía" (Spanish for "Obstinacy") and “El Delirio” (Spanish for "Delirium"). Both lines are produced mostly for export
to Germany, Canada, USA, Brazil, Europe, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Botalcura Winery has received enthusiastic reviews and numerous medals in international competitions
for its wines from vintage 2003 onwards.
Recently Botalcura Vineyards decided to enter the domestic market in Chile with a new line of wines. It is called “Los Asesinos”
(Spanish for "The Murderers"), a trilogy of reserve wines each one made with the most cherished grape varieties in Chile, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carménère.
The wines are named after three of the most notorious criminals in the history of Chile, La Quintrala, Emile Dubois and The Jackal of Nahueltoro.
La Quintrala was the nickname of Catalina de los Rios y Lisperger
, a seventeenth-century Chilean landowner. Catalina, a fiery red-haired woman, was famous for her beauty and the cruelty with which he treated her servants and her lovers. She became an icon of the abuse and oppression of landowners during the Spanish colonial era. Catalina has been attributed at least 40 murders, including that of her own father whom she allegedly poisoned to inherit his fortune.
Her legendary personality persists in the popular culture of Chile as the epitome of the evil and abusive woman. Perhaps seeking forgiveness, when she died at age 60, she bequeathed a large portion of her estate to the Catholic Church requesting her remains to be buried in one of the main temples of the capital and having a thousand masses given in her name.
Amadeo Brihier Louis Lacroix, better known by his alias Emile Dubois
was a French immigrant who became notorious in Chile in the early twentieth century when he was accused and later convicted of murdering four renowned foreigners, one British, one German and two French businessmen. According to the chroniclers of the time, Dubois’ victims were wealthy men and rapacious lenders; consequently the people sympathized with the murderer considering the crimes as acts of justice for poor people. At his trial, he took his own defense after dismissing his counsel who, aiming for acquittal, sought to portray him as mentally ill. Despite his extraordinary skill and eloquence, Dubois was found guilty and executed on March 26, 1907.
Emile Dubois never admitted to the crimes and while facing the firing squad he made a powerful speech in which he accused the judge of sentencing to death an innocent man. Popular culture elevated him to the status of a revered saint and an object of popular appeals and requests for mercies and miracles.
The Jackal of Nahueltoro
El Chacal de Nahueltoro (the Jackal of
) was the nickname Chilean newspapers gave to Jorge Valenzuela, the author of the horrendous murders of a peasant widow and her five children in the rural locality of Nahueltoro, near the town of San Carlos in central Chile in 1960. Valenzuela was an illiterate peasant and an alcoholic who befriended the widow in the hope of receiving money to support his alcohol addiction. When bureaucratic problems prevented the woman receiving her pension, Valenzuela became desperate for money to keep drinking. Following a quarrel, he killed the woman with a scythe, then her 5 children and covered them with stones. A month later, he was captured and imprisoned.
During the three years of the criminal process, Valenzuela adopted the Catholic religion, he learned to read and write and how to make guitars, he repented of his crimes and became a model prisoner. Although he was considered rehabilitated, Valenzuela was sentenced to death by firing squad. His grave, in the town of San Carlos became a popular place of worship for people with personal problems pleading for help and protection.
Botalcura Vineyards’ initiative of launching “The Murderers” wine line has encountered mixed reactions. There are those who celebrate the recollection of remarkable events in the criminal history of Chile, while others see the tribute to infamous criminals in bad taste. In any case, “The Murderers” have found a favorable reception among wine enthusiasts and the products are selling well at major wine retailers.