Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, June 22 2023

Carménère with Aurelio Montes

By: Anthony Gismondi
Reaching for the heavens.

Aurelio Montes's business card reads Chief Winemaker Montes Wines but also includes the title "Guardian of the Spirit." It's a tribute to Douglas Murray, a co-founder of Montes Wines in 1987.

He came up with the title after emerging unscathed from a severe automobile accident in the 1990s. From that point on, the winery changed its labels to include the angel motif, the good luck charm that Murrary carried in his pocket and attributed to his ability to walk away from the accident.

We asked Aurelio to take us back to carménère beginnings in Colchagua and his winery's approach to making wine from this old Bordeaux grape variety. Interestingly, the decision not to rush to market led to the creation of Purple Angel almost a decade later, a wine that became an instant gold standard for Chilean carménèreupon its release. 

Montes Wing's latest release is the next iteration of carménère. It is the result of planting higher up on the vineyard slope, and in Aurelio's opinion, creates another vision for Carmenere with some surprising characteristics. Douglas Murray passed away in 2010, but the Montes family remains committed to reaching for the heavens and hinting there will be more to come from carménère at Montes. 

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For over 30 years, he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. The twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through the Postmedia Network to millions of readers. In addition, Anthony hosts the BC Food & Wine Radio Show, broadcast in 25 markets across B.C. and available as a podcast on major platforms. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million monthly users from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource full of tasting notes, intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers. Conversations with wine personalities are available on his  YouTube Channel.