Matetic Vineyards | San Antonio, Chile
The Matetic family has a history of settling in new territory and making a success of agriculture. In 1892, the current members’ ancestors made the long journey by sea from the Croatian coast to Punta Arenas on the southern tip of Chile. They soon acquired large haciendas for sheep and dairy farming. It was only in 1999 that the fourth generation of Chilean Matetic made the move into winemaking.
After a detailed study of the terroir, Jorge Matetic Hartard and his relatives decided to plant vineyards in a previously overlooked side valley of the San Antonio appellation - Rosario. Just 15km from the Pacific Ocean, the rolling hills of Rosario Valley benefits from cooling sea breezes and huge swings in temperature. Well drained, quartz-sandy soil requires vines to dig their roots deep into the ground (up to four metres) to find water and nutrients, making for low yields and high-quality fruit.
Biodynamic viticulture is one of the eco-friendly practices Matetic follows in its winemaking - it is also certified organic and sustainable as well as biodynamic. Regarding the Rosario Valley as a single organism, the team works hard to maintain the health of the ground (using Rudolf Steiner’s preparations of quartz, manure, herbs etc in cow horns but only using indigenous materials), the crops and the varied animal life in the ecosystem. Grape pomace is added to compost from the restaurant to be reused in the vineyards, as is water which has been used to clean barrels. And in human terms, local people make up the majority of staff, and the winery sells woollen and other craft goods made by artisans nearby. It’s all part of a philosophy that aims to make winemaking a venture which will benefit the family and its neighbours for generations to come.
Environmental responsibility continues into the winery itself, which was completed in 2003. Designed by Laurence Odfjell, the Norwegian shipping magnate and trained architect, who also built his family’s own winery in Chile, it has been described as the 'incredible disappearing winery' because of the way it blends with its setting. Despite its large capacity - 600,000 litres in fermentation, 1,800 barrels in the cellars - the processes are as gentle and unintrusive as in the vineyards, with gravitational flow the only way wine moves around the building. This allows head winemaker Julio Bastias and consultant Rodrigo Soto to produce wines with wonderful harmony.
Matetic produce wine under three differing labels. Corralillo is the name of a very old wine cellar that used to be in El Rosario Valley, where wines of the ancient “País” grape were once made. These wines - Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère and the Winemakers Blend (Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc) express this frontier-pushing terroir with great individuality and draw from plots in Maipo, near Santiago, and Colchagua further south, as well as San Antonio.
The EQ range of wines takes its name from the word EQUILIBRIO (Spanish word for Balance) and represents the commitment to nature, by pursuing a perfect balance between the grapevines, soil and climate of the vineyards. EQ offers balanced wines with outstanding quality and elegance.
The Matetic family pioneered the development of Syrah under the cool climate of the San Antonio Valley. Planted in the ancient granitic soils found on their Rosario vineyard, the grapes ripen slowly, yielding unique and intense flavors. The biodynamic agriculture practiced allows grapevines to preserve their natural balance and express their authentic characteristics. Coming from only 2 selected sectors planted on very gentle slopes and with a limited production of 300 cases per year the Matetic label is truly an exceptional biodynamic wine.