Decanter - - CHILE -

Edgard Carter and Karine Mol­len­hauer

ex­pres­sive, with a slightly wild and rus­tic edge, but re­fresh­ing and well bal­anced. ‘ I want a fresh ex­pres­sion of Carig­nan,’ says Carter. ‘If you ex­tract too much, you lose the sense of place.’ This Carig­nan, grown in the cool Truquilemu area, is el­e­gantly bit­ter­sweet, with hints of can­dle wax and mashed dark fruit. Drink 2020-2022 Alc 12%

De Martino, Las Olvi­dadas, Guar­il­i­hue, Itata 2018 92

£ 33.50 Berry Bros & Rudd

De Martino has been mak­ing bril­liant wines in Itata for some time now, but this is per­haps the finest wine it’s pro­duced to date in the re­gion. It’s made ‘ from some of the old­est vines I’ve ever seen’, says Se­bastián De Martino, who’s seen some old vines in his time. The blend is mainly País but also ‘ San Fran­cisco’, which could be Ne­gramoll. Guar­il­i­hue is a cool spot and this pale red speaks of warm earth, baked red fruit and dried meat. It’s a won­der­ful bal­ance of ethe­real light­ness and slightly wild rus­tic­ity. Glo­ri­ous. Drink 2020-2023 Alc 12.5%

Casa Marín, Carta­gena Coastal Red, Lo Abarca, San An­to­nio 2017 90

N/A UK www.casamarin.cl

If you’re plant­ing one of the coolest, most ex­treme vine­yard sites in coastal Chile, you wouldn’t au­to­mat­i­cally think of Grenache and Syrah. But then Mar­iluz Marín has al­ways zigged while oth­ers zag, and the re­sult is a se­ries of strik­ing, highly in­di­vid­ual, un­com­pro­mis­ing wines. And this one’s no ex­cep­tion, suf­fused with black pep­per and wild-berry fruit flavours and a grippy, food-friendly palate pro­file. Drink 2020-2027 Alc 13.5%

Sus­tain­abil­ity, or­ganic farm­ing and min­i­mal-in­ter­ven­tion wine­mak­ing may now be long-es­tab­lished terms, but Cono Sur’s fore­sight en­sured such ideals were an in­trin­sic part of its business when it was es­tab­lished in 1993.

These long-term goals be­gan to be re­alised with the move into or­ganic farm­ing in 2000. To­day Cono Sur owns more than 300ha of or­ganic vine­yards

San An­to­nio Val­ley and Colch­agua Val­ley, in ad­di­tion to tran­si­tion­ing vine­yards over to or­gan­ics on its El En­canto es­tate in Aconcagua Val­ley plus ex­plor­ing or­ganic pos­si­bil­i­ties in Bío Bío Val­ley.

Cono Sur fur­ther com­mits it­self to a raft of ini­tia­tives aimed at min­imis­ing the ef­fect wine pro­duc­tion has on the land, and em­ploys a team of staff ded­i­cated to this aim. ‘We are al­ways de­vel­op­ing projects to re­duce our en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact,’ says Cono Sur’s wine­makng di­rec­tor Matías Ríos. ‘So­lar pan­els make our elec­tric­ity use sus­tain­able, plus we set goals for our waste pro­duc­tion and wa­ter con­sump­tion per litre of wine pro­duced.’ Al­ways aware that the great­est im­print oc­curs when its wines leave the prop­erty and are sent out across the globe, Cono Sur be­came one of the first winer­ies in the world, in 2007, to achieve Car­bon­Neu­tral de­liv­ery sta­tus – a mark it has achieved ev­ery year since.

Other than the holis­tic ben­e­fits of such projects, Ríos be­lieves the re­wards are also cap­tured in the bot­tle. ‘It is dif­fi­cult to con­firm that an or­ganic wine is nec­es­sar­ily of higher qual­ity than a con­ven­tional one,’ he con­cedes. ‘How­ever in our ex­pe­ri­ence, vine­yards that we have trans­formed to or­ganic man­age­ment re­sult in lower yields, ob­tain greater char­ac­ter and con­cen­tra­tion, and bet­ter ex­press their ter­roir. You must add these pos­i­tives to the ben­e­fits to the en­vi­ron­ment, the work­ers and con­sumers.’

Pinot Noir, Cono Sur’s renowned flag­ship va­ri­ety, is a grape that Ríos be­lieves thrives un­der or­ganic con­di­tions. ‘We know that Pinot Noir is an ex­tremely sen­si­tive and chal­leng­ing va­ri­ety that does not al­low mis­takes,’ ex­plains Ríos. ‘Farm­ing Pinot Noir or­gan­i­cally is a greater chal­lenge but it also brings greater ben­e­fits, with the bal­ance in the vine­yard di­rectly re­flected in the wine’s qual­ity. There’s noth­ing like an or­ganic Pinot Noir planted in the right ter­roir: bal­anced and healthy. It’s the best way to pro­duce this va­ri­ety.’

It is this be­lief – that it is pos­si­ble to re­alise the full po­ten­tial of both va­ri­ety and vine­yard while al­ways be­ing de­voted to the care of each – that best crys­tallises the con­vic­tions of Ríos and his team. ‘As wine­mak­ers, we be­lieve that it is para­mount to send a mes­sage to the world,’ he de­clares. ‘We can drink high-qual­ity, in­no­va­tive wines that are gen­uinely ex­cit­ing, but that don’t need to make a neg­a­tive im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.’

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