There’s a good reason the Merlot of Chile doesn’t taste like other Merlot. Many are not entirely Merlot, but instead a blend of Merlot and a far more exotic grape: Carmenère, a.k.a., The “Lost Grape of Bordeaux.” Carmenère root stock was transplanted from France over a century ago before the particularly nasty root louse threatened its very existence. Soon forgotten, the Carmenère grapes grew freely with Merlot grapes and were assumed to be Merlot until, suddenly in 1994, viticulturist Jean-Michel Boursiquit revealed the mistake. Oops!
Oops is the latest project of Vina Undurraga, a 135-year old family-owned winery in Chile. In 1860 Francisco Undurraga brought grapes from Germany and France and planted them in his vineyards in Chile. The landscaping of the original winery was designed by the famous French designer of the time, Mr Dubois. In 1903 the Undurraga winery became the first Chilean winery to export wine to the U.S., and in 1960 royalty began visiting the winery A few years later, it was receiving awards for its high quality wines. One hundred years later, a massive investment in new estates and technology took place as a result of the birth of GVP, an association formed by Undurraga, Talagante and Bodega Volcanes.