The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2010

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Page 28 of 96

WOMEN IN WINE In Chile’s famed Maipo Valley, one woman has been producing some of the finest wines in the region for more than two decades. As part of our Year of the Woman, THE TASTING PANEL salutes Cecila Torres, Chief Winemaker of Santa Rita’s Casa Real and Chile’s Woman of the Vine W by Rachel Burkons hen you ask Cecilia Torres why she chose to become a winemaker, she gives a simple, yet two-pronged response: “First of all, because of a desire to have contact with nature,” she states, “and later, as a good choice for an empathetic woman in a field dominated by men.” Since then, Torres, who has been the only winemaker at the helm of Santa Rita’s lauded Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon program since its debut vintage in 1989, has not only learned to commune with nature, but has also proved that when it comes to winemaking, gender is irrelevant. “I do not think the fact that I am a woman is reflected in the wine.” Rather, she explains, “The grape is reflected in the wine; the feminine touch is more in the attention to detail, the perseverance and patience, knowing how to wait and to respect what nature has given us.” Produced only during the finest vintages when grapes meet precise standards, Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon is a reflection of Torres’ commitment to patience and the quest for perfection. “Our expecta- tions are always high,” says the winemaker, whose respect and adoration of the “noble” Cab varietal is clear. “One always seeks 100 percent perfection, the sublime, and for Casa Real, harmony and balance.” With grapes sourced from Carneros Viejo, Santa Rita’s finest and most historic vineyard, Torres has become intimately acquainted with the 40-year-old vines she lovingly oversees. “I have had the same grapes for 20 years,” she admits. “My challenge has been to respect the characteristics of the Alto Maipo terroir and highlight the elegance, the typicity of the fruit and its concentration.” Torres has met this challenge head-on and with incredible success, producing vintages (1995, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005, in particular) that have been internation- ally noteworthy in their balance, body, depth and generous fruit. “Every harvest has its own story,” explains Torres, who, after 20 years of harvest at Casa Real is still excited at the prospect of upcoming vintages. “None of them is easily won or achieved, and because of this, a special feeling develops about each year . . . Now, the vintages that are coming, I think they will give us something to talk about.” Santa Rita Casa Real is imported by Palm Bay International. Casa Real Winemaker Cecilia Torres. 28 / the tasting panel / july 2010 PHOTOS COURTESY OF SANTA RITA

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