Viña Vik, with the mind and with the heart
If anyone thought that wine is simply the result of a biological process, they should take a trip to the valley of Cachapoal in Chile, where Viña Vik is located.
The person will discover a holistic approach where territory, technology, science, architecture, sustainability, research, passion and art all come together to give three labels that have been able to climb the rankings of the best wines in the world.
In search of the promised land
The history of Viña Vik began in 2004. Alex and Carrie Vik had a dream: to produce the best wines of the world. He is one of the richest men of Norway, his native land, but in order to cultivate vineyards he necessarily traveled to other latitudes. The couple, with the help of experts and researchers, finally, after two years of evaluations, choose the American continent. In particular a terroir in a country already suited for the production of excellent wines, Chile. The place chosen was Millahue, in the valley of Cachapoal, at the border with the province of Colcaghua, one of the historical historical wine areas of the South American nation.
In Millahue, which the native Mapuche call “Lugar de Oro” (Golden Place), the landscape is majestic.
There are 12 valleys, between 500 and a thousand meters of altitude, each one with its own its own microclimate, the exposure to the sun varies and Pacific coastal breezes and the winds that blow from the Andes. For wine producers, this means being able to refine grapes capable of restoring enormous complexity and exceptional variety. In an area of more than 4 thousand hectares, less than 400 hectares of vineyards are planted with five different grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, carmenere, syrah and merlot. Chief enologist Cristian Vallejo oversees viticulture and ensures that the grapes are harvested by hand and fermentation takes place naturally without added yeast.
The wines are aged in a combination of new and used French oak barrels, using different percentages of the five grape varieties.
When the bottle becomes a work of art
Viña Vik currently produces three red wine labels: VIK, Milla Calla and La Piu Belle (the latter is also available in a rosé version as well). VIK is the most valuable label sold since 2010. It is an important red wine, to be opened for a special occasion. It is produced from a fermentation in stainless steel followed by a maturation of 24 months in wood.
Its prestige among insiders has grown in a few years and Vine Pair in 2018 ranked it in 3rd place among the best wines in the world. The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon 67%, Cabernet Franc 17%, Carmenere 14%, Merlot 2% and Syrah 4%, the color is deep ruby red with light touches of garnet red. In the nose hints of ripe red fruits can be detected, followed by sensations of tobacco, sweet spices and mineral nuances. It perfectly matches with second courses of red meat and game.
Milla Calla is a wine which can to drink well in every occasion. It was put in production in 2012.
Maturation is done in wooden barrels for at least 23 months. The blend is composed by Cabernet Sauvignon 67%, Carmenere 17%, Merlot 11%, Cabernet Franc 4% and Syrah 1%. It is so red that Wine Spectator magazine indicates among the best wines in the world (22nd place in 2018). The color is ruby red, intense and luminous, with garnet reflections. Aromas of strawberry and raspberry with floral and spicy notes can be found. A wine of great harmony and persistence that is well suited to second courses of red meat, grilled, but also with mature cheeses. Also in 2012, the idea of producing a third label: La Piu Belle (the most beautiful) was hatched. A red wine with a blend Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Carmenere 40%, Syrah 10% and Merlot 5%. You can smell aromas of red fruit of ripe and lush raspberries. In mouth it is round, ample and silky, with a delicate but concentrated acidity.
To sip with a duck breast or grilled salmon.
The charm of La Piu Belle is not only in the content of the bottle but also in the container. In fact, the bottle reproduces a work expressly conceived by the Chilean painter Gonzalo Cienfuegos. His work was the most beautiful among those created by about twenty of international artists called by Alex and Carrie Vik to illustrate a bottle. The inspiration of one of their favorite painters, the Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte, who in the fifties of the twentieth century had painted wine bottles. The bottle features a female figure on a celestial background. It represents Freya, a mythical figure Nordic who has now taken up residence in Viña Vik and watches over the earth, the sky, the sun and the sun and the fog, which are fundamental elements to the grapes of the “golden valley”. Then, in 2019, the version rosé version of La Piu Belle, with Cabernet Sauvignon 86%, Cabernet Franc 10% and Syrah 4%. Hints that range from ripe red berries to lavender and violet. Recommended with paella or smoked salmon on toasted bread with ricotta cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
Hi-tech architecture and breathtaking views
The winery of Viña Vik is a concentrate of technology and avant-garde architecture married to the cause of Eco-sustainability and an evocative aesthetic. It was designed by the Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, who in 2007 won the architectural contest held in order to give a worthy home to Vik’s great wines.
The winery is designed to have a minimal impact on the landscape. The roof gives the impression of an enormous, elegant, white wing suspended above the underground structure. The access to the cellar is from a beautiful square crossed by running water that flows towards the building. The mirror water features a fascinating sculptural installation of river rock that visitors can appreciate walking on the walkways, observing the reflections of the mountains and surrounding vineyards. In the winery it is possible to reach the tasting room by going up from the Fermentation Hall (fermentation room) in the Barrel Room (the room of casks), where among lightly lit barrels stacked on both sides, it is possible to admire the admire the work dedicated to the terror beautifully painted by Eduardo Cardozo. Vik is an avant-garde winery from the point of view sustainability. It uses free cooling, a cooling system cooling system which exploits the temperature difference with the external environment, as well as solar energy and natural insulation. The mirror of water cools the ambient temperature of the barrels without using energy, and the same humidity allows the temperature to rise. The translucent roof allows daytime work without the need of artificial light and the insulated cellar maintains small temperature differences at the time of cooling and heating, requiring less energy overall. The other architectural jewel of Viña Vik is the hotel that stands on the hill, offering a 360-degree panoramic view of the valley. It was built in 2014, designed by Uruguayan architect Marcelo Daglio. The floating and structural roof of titanium and bronze is reminiscent of deconstructivism of Frank Gehry. The building features central patio with a Zen garden surrounded by colorful flowers. In the lobby there are remarkable works of art, including paintings by Roberto Matta and a diptych of Anselm Kiefer’s iconic “The Secret Life of Plants” series. Kiefer’s “The Secret Life of Plants” series. The hotel is also houses the restaurant Milla Milla, with its glass walls for the best better enjoy a phenomenal view of the valley and the infinity pool.
The twenty-two rooms are all themed and there are also seven private bungalows with glass walls with a concentration of avant-garde architecture, art and natural spectacle.