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.’