Francois Lurton is a frequent-flier winemaker. The fifth generation of the respected Lurton family that has made Bordeaux since 1897, he owns and runs vineyards today in France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Chile.
One remarkable vineyard in Chile, founded by Lurton and his brother, is Hacienda Araucano in the country's Lolol Valley, an offshoot of the better known Colchagua Valley, about 100 miles south of Santiago. Araucano is the name Spanish colonizers used for the locals.
The east-west valley is a funnel for cold ocean breezes that create chilly, foggy mornings but also is warmed by the southern sun, creating the dramatic temperature shifts that make great grapes. Like California's Sonoma Valley, a morning might start at 50 degrees and hit 100 degrees by midafternoon.
Most of Hacienda Araucano's wines are in the $11-to-$13 range. An exception is Lurton's remarkable $50 carmenere, a smooth, creamy, plum-and-mint-scented wine from a grape that has been grown in Chile for many years, but until a decade or so ago was mistaken for merlot in vineyards where the two grew side-by-side.
Highly recommended: 2007 Hacienda Araucano Alka Carmenere, Valle de Colchagua, Chile: intense, concentrated black plum, herb and mint aromas and flavors, big, ripe tannins, smooth, long finish; $50.
2010 Hacienda Araucano Syrah Reserva, Valle de Lolol, Chile: rich and fruity, with aromas and flavor of black cherries and black pepper; $13.
Recommended: 2011 Hacienda Araucano Sauvignon Blanc, Valle de Lolol, Chile: crisp and lean and fruity, with aromas and flavors of white grapefruit, limes; $11.
2010 Hacienda Araucano Pinot Noir Reserva, Valle de Lolol, Chile: pale ruby color, red raspberry aroma and flavors, delicate and subtle; $13.
2011 Hacienda Araucano Carmenere Valle de Colchuaga, Chile: lush and rich, with flavors of mulberries and eucalyptus; $11.
2010 Hacienda Araucano Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle Central, Chile: soft and round, with aromas and flavors of cassis and spice; $11.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Fred Tasker
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.