OVEJA NEGRA
Maule Valley
Translated literally as "Black Sheep," Oveja Negra wines intend to stand out from the flock. "Dare to be yourself" is their slogan and the winery demonstrates a clear focus on innovation. True representations of Chile's Maule Valley, Oveja Negra wines sing strident of their roots, but are willing to challenge convention. The Maule Valley offers a significant diversity of soil types, allowing a wide range of grape varieties to grow. As part of the VIA Wines family and with 1,160 acres of estate vineyards to work with, Winemaker Carlos Gatica and his team have a broad array of grapes available to them to provide constant inspiration for innovation and experimentation. The Reserva tier features unusual blends, such as a Sauvignon Blanc-Carmenere, a blend of red and white grapes. Oveja Negra's Single Vineyard wines are crafted to make each Maule Valley vineyard site shine bright, combining a fruit-driven structure with modern winemaking techniques.

"While Chile develops new wine regions, the old vines of Maule are a largely undiscovered treasure."
Jancis Robinson, JancisRobinson.com (2009)
  • Founded: 1998
  • Winemaker: Carlos Gatica
  • Size: 1,160 acres
  • Climate: Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and winter rains
  • Key Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Carmenere, Carignan, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec

Winemaking

Oveja Negra practices winemaking with minimal intervention to allow the grapes to express their natural flavors and aromas, as well as their terroir. Fruit is hand-harvested, and each varietal is fermented and aged independently, with Winemaker Edgard Carter determining the appropriate length of time for maceration and fermentation to obtain maximum aroma extraction and quality. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, with various combinations of stainless steel, French and American oak barrels for aging. Both punchdowns and pumpovers are commonly used to enhance extraction for red wines. For blends, the varietals are blended together just before stabilization and bottling. Most wines are bottle aged before release. ┬áThe VIA Wines commitment to sustainability extends to the cellar, reflected in the winery’s limits on water use, materials management efficiency, energy use and waste management.

Viticulture

The Maule Valley’s Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and rainfall concentrated in winter, helps control vine vigor and berry size. This allows bunches to ripen evenly and thoroughly. All fruit is estate-grown and hand-picked at the San Rafael Estate Vineyard, located in the midsection of the Maule Valley, using modern, sustainable viticultural practices. Planting is soil specific, with each wine reflecting the unique characteristics of the vineyard where the fruit was grown as well as that of the varietal. Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Merlot are planted in the flat areas of sandy loam, where the fertility of the soils promotes vigor and enhances the minerality and some green notes in the white varieties. Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Malbec are planted in the hills of clay loam with black stones and volcanic tuff which have high surface drainage. This helps control vigor, thereby emphasizing fruity notes.

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