Dec 27: There has been a change of guard at Luis Felipe Edward (LFE) Winery with Luis Felipe Edwards Jr. visiting India for the first time along with his Hong-Kong based export Director for Asia, Pacific and Middle East manager Nick Tullet who was in India last year when Dhall Foods was the importer, writes Subhash Arora who was invited at an exclusive tasting at the Wasabi Restaurant at the Taj Mahal Hotel organised by the new importer, Ace Beveragez
Luis Felipe Edwards (LFE) was founded by Luis Edwards Sr in 1976. One of the most innovative and progressive wineries of Chile and the 3rd largest winery in Chile, according to Luis Felipe Edwards Jr., son of the founder, who was not naturally groomed to look after the winery. He was happy in working with Citibank in New York but with change in financial climate decided to move back to Chile, bringing in a lot of professionalism in the company. It was obvious that he has had a lot of influence on the working of the winery, claiming that the sales have gone up by 35 times since he joined hands with his father.
LFE Wines are exported to 90 countries in the world, including India. Dhall Foods had been the importer for several years but with the wining interest in wine imports, there was a change of guard with the first shipment imported by Ace arriving last month. With around 2000 hA land(700 ha of which have been planted in Colchagua Valley during the last 3 years, LFE is the 3rd largest wine exporter of Chile. 150 hA have also been planted in Leyda Valley where the ground id being prepared for planting of 116 hAs of vines in 2019.
‘It was obvious to me when I joined the business in 2000 that we had to change our thinking to compete with wineries from Chile and other countries. We went for modern equipment and techniques and today the efforts are paying off. We are always thinking of innovating for a better product,’ says Edwards Jr. ‘Moving up the quality tree, our focus is more on Reservas and Gran Reservas,’ admits Luis Felipe Jr.
‘We are also focussing on Sustainability and are already certified as ‘Wines of Chile Sustainable Winery’ and we are using continually less pesticides. We are also using lighter bottles for classic and Reserva range (the two are being marketed in India) to save on carbon footprints. We have recyclable programmes in various areas of paper,glass, plastics and organic materials,’ he says.
The Classic wines we tasted in the afternoon earlier this month at Wasabi Restaurant at the Taj Mahal Hotel, were clean, fruit forward and very young and approachable. At around Rs. 2000 a bottle, they are a bit expensive for comparable classic wines but the quality is certainly better than most of the low priced value-for-money wines available in the market, as I found after the tasting. Says Luis Jr., ‘we have to convince the hotels through tastings and visits that our quality is superior and worth the nominal extra cash required. Edwards Jr. showed a short video about vinification of grapes post which the wines were tasted.
Following wines were tasted:
LFE Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (very crisp and fruity),
LFE Chardonnay Reserva 2017 (subtle taste and aromas of wood stave but will improve a little),
LFE Rose 2018 which was excellent in taste and aromas and very well made wine that was my favourite of the evening good balance, lots of fruit and personality
LFE Carmenere 2016like any other Chilean varietal but was not green and the fruity flavour was devoid of any green-ness so prevalent in Carmenere
LFE Cabernet Sauvignon 2018- wine had aromas of blueberry and blackberries and was medium to full body: it would be delicious with steaks, kebabs and red meats in general
The Tasting was interesting with the wines being of medium prices but high quality. Hopefully, they will be seen at more and more retail shops as they are very approachable.
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