Isla Negra means ‘black island’ in Spanish; however Isla Negra is not an island, but a mystical seaside village about 130km south west of Santiago, beloved by artists, and bohemians.
The Isla Negra brand of wines is a relative newcomer to the Chilean and the international wine scene, having been launched only in 1995. But its approachable, modern wine styles, and competitive pricing proved very popular, and as a result, Isla Negra is now the 2nd largest Chilean wine brand in the UK.
What Is The Backgroung To Isla Negra?
Isla Negra has contributed significantly to Chile’s position in the marketplace, now holding over 8% of total UK sales. It is owned by Concha y Toro, who also own Casillero del Diablo and is the Chile's largest wine company.
Launched in 1995, the Isla Negra brand is all about delivering high quality wines, at great value prices, and was created specifically to bring a range of easy-drinking, enjoyable Chilean wines to the market.
Isla Negra is all about enjoyment, relaxation and discovery – capturing the magic and artistry of the coastal town, from where the brand got its name. The focus of the brand is very much of portraying the classic regional styles of Chilean wine, but does so, with a very modern style and twist. The aim is to experience traditional styles, with a modern edge, and to discover new boundaries – new styles, new food and wine matches, new packaging; there are few rules, just a voyage of discovery.
Cecilia Padilla, head winemaker for Isla Negra, seeks out the best fruit for the brand from various locations throughout Chile’s long, thin, wine region, in order to produce wines, which are typical of their grape variety, and offer rich, full-flavoured, yet approachable styles of wine. The majority of the grapes come from several valleys, namely Maipo, Rapel, Curico, and Maule, ranging from the centre to further south.
One of Isla Negra’s strongest philosophies, is its stance on the environment, and its 'green' credentials. Isla Negra wines are carbon neutral, meaning that the CO2 emissions from the shipping of Isla Negra wines worldwide have been measured and balanced to through Greenhouse Gas Emissions reduction projects, focussing on renewable energy. So for every tonne of CO2 used during transportation, Isla Negra invests in one tonne to be reduced by carbon saving projects around the world.
What Styles Of Wine Do Isla Negra Produce?
Isla Negra produces a fresh, dry, fruity sparkling wine, but the rest of the range are wines named after individual grape varieties, or are blends of two of these varieties.
The range divides into 3 tiers:
Isla Negra – this is the introductory level to the brand and features a range of 2 white and 3 red dual varietals, and a dry, fruity Merlot Rose. The whites focus on the fresh, zesty Sauvignon, with a lively tangy Sauvignon/Semillon, and a richer, smoother Sauvignon/Chardonnay blend.
The reds all feature the blackcurrant fruit and spice of the Cabernet in 3 different styles – a plump, juicy Cabernet/Merlot, a rich, raspberry-scented, velvety Carmenere/Cabernet and a bold, spicy Syrah/Cabernet.
Isla Negra Reserve – these wines are all single varietals, and stay with the brand’s aim to offer true varietal character and quality at great prices. There are 2 classic whites, a fresh, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc, and a creamy, tropical fruit flavoured Chardonnay; a raspberry fruit-scented Merlot Rose; and 4 classic reds, showcasing the top 4 red grape varieties grown in Chile – a plummy, smooth Merlot, a curranty, minty Cabernet, a deep, richly spiced Shiraz, and a full-flavoured black cherry and mocha flavoured Carmenere.
Isla Negra High Tide – this is the premium level of Isla Negra wines, with careful selection of vines, leading to concentrated, high quality wines. The range comprises 7 wines, all showcasing the country’s best known varietals; these include deliciously fresh Sauvignon, elegant Chardonnay and a more intense version of the fruitily lively Merlot Rose. As far as reds are concerned, the range offers the same varieties as the reserve range, ie Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and Carmenere, but with more depth and intensity of flavour.