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As a child, the lure of archeology cannot be denied. Fantasies of discovering ancient treasures fuel the dreams of many youngsters, as they did my adolescent imagination. These days, such notions have been replaced in my life with interests no less exciting in the wine world. For the curious wine lover, opportunities abound to explore the treasures of the past in the form of old vines, recently discovered and under rehabilitation by vintners around the world. I delight in tasting wines made from gnarled old plants to which no one paid attention for years until someone realized they might make decent wine.
There are few places in the Western Hemisphere more conducive to such explorations than Chile’s Maule Valley. The country’s largest officially designated grape growing region that sits about two-thirds of the way down Chile’s long flank, Maule has long been known for its rather unremarkable wine, much like France’s Languedoc Roussillon. Quite rural and fairly poor, for more than two centuries this region has produced wines made from old, gnarled, dry-farmed plantings of the País grape (better known as the Mission grape in the U.S.) that didn’t get much farther than the gallon jugs of the local populace.
In 1939, however, this region of Chile suffered a catastrophic earthquake measuring 8.3 on the richter scale that brought wine production up and down the country to a halt, not to mention killing tens of thousands of people. In the course of rebuilding the industry following the devastation, Chilean authorities (specifically the Oenology department in the Ministry of Agriculture) encouraged the local farmers to improve their lot (and their wines) by planting Carignane, a grape that in their academic trials had shown some promise.
2010 Garage Wine Company “VIGNO” Carignane, Maule Valley, Chile
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of grapey mulberry and huckleberry fruit. In the mouth mulberry and huckleberry fruit have a nice purity and scents of cedar. Wonderful acidity makes the fruit quite bright and lively. Faint tannins. Concentrated but not overpowering. 8.5 – 9 / 10
Wine Anorak (January 2012)
– Jamie Goode
Excerpt : Vigno (pronounced veenio) is short for Vignadores de Carignan. It’s a new collaborative project to promote old vine Carignan wines from Maule, and the name
Vignadores is a mutation from the Spanish term for winegrower, viñadores, with the ‘g’ from Carignan added in.
Old vine Carignan is a neglected treasure of the Chilean wine industry. It was first planted on a large scale in Maule in the early 1940s, when, in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake in 1939, the Ministry of Agriculture proposed encouraging the planting of Carignan to improve the region’s wines. The thinking was… see : www.wineanorak.com
Many will have you believe, somewhat naively, that all Chilean harvests are alike– all pretty much perfect. Not so. It is true we do not get hail, and we do for the most part get small amounts of rain during harvest, but if you dig deeper there are vast differences vintage to vintage. Perhaps we see more variance dry-farming? Bring it on!
2012 we think will be remembered as “the year for those who had their wits about them”. Here are a selection of pictures and some commmentary about the 2012 crush. It was our first year making our Maule Carignans in the cellar of Viña Reserva de Caliboro– a large thank-you goes out to Francesco, Andrés, Cesar, Augusto, Doctor Estafano, Caco, Andrés, Tonia …
“If you’ve heard of carignan, you may be surprised at that last one. It’s the workhorse grape of the Languedoc, where it has traditionally made dense, plodding reds – “giving a solid taste fundament to many wines”, as the quaintly translated website carignanday.net puts it. In the Languedoc, it’s usually blended with other grapes such as grenache, syrah and mourvèdre, but to my mind the most interesting carignans come from the Maule Valley in Chile, where a group of producers called Vigno has banded together to promote the variety. If you’re still sceptical, treat yourself to a bottle of the Garage Wine Co’s super-velvety Field Blend Old Vine Carignan Lot #27 2010
” Then came the Movi movement, a grouping of ambitious small-scale wine producers dotted around the country who realised, in 2009, that by joining together and singing the praises of small companies versus big, they could create much more noise than by operating independently. And now we have another much more geographically and varietally specific association, Vignadores de Carignan – producers who have joined together to bottle a range of exciting wines essentially obeying the rules of a single appellation, Vigno.
According to one interpretation, Vigno is the result of two earthquakes and. . . ”
(PRWEB UK) 8 December 2011
Bibendum Wine Ltd has launched five new Chilean wines to the UK market. All the wines are made on a tiny, boutique scale and offer a point of difference to mainstream Chilean brands.
Bibendum Director of Buying for the Southern Hemisphere, Iain Muggoch, has challenged Chile to move away from predictable branded pyramid ranges and focus on the country’s potential to produce exciting, terroir-driven wines that can rival the best in the world.
Speaking after a recent visit to the country, Muggoch said: “Chile is currently at a crossroads. For a long time, it has played to the UK, US & China’s demand for large volumes of low priced but clean varietal wines. There was no other country that could produce this quality at the bulk prices and availability being offered.
“However, the consequences of the 2010 earthquake and rising costs throughout the supply chain mean that the Chile is simply no longer able to produce enough good quality juice to meet global demand for entry level wine.
“Chile now has a fantastic opportunity to change the way people around the world perceive it, by focusing on its old vines, exciting, varied terroirs and talented, innovative winemakers. It needs to break out of the boring pyramid that starts with varietal wines and moves up through ‘Reserva’ and ‘Single Vineyard’ to ‘Icon’ and produce more wines that really excite consumers.
“We are now working with a number of boutique producers and independent winemakers in the country, and I have never been more excited about Chilean wine.”
Bibendum is now importing wines from five artisan Chilean producers: Laberinto (Maule), Rukumilla (Maipo), Garage Wine Company (Maule), Flaherty (Aconcagua) and Lagar de Bezana (Alto Cachapoal).
With the exception of Laberinto, these are all members of MOVI – the Movement of Independent Vintners – which has attracted international acclaim both for its game-changing attitude and the its quality of members’ wines.
Muggoch said, “These wines stand apart from everything else that Chile exports to the UK and they have the potential to transform the image of Chile from being merely a producer of reliable, supermarket-friendly wines to its rightful place as the home of some of the world’s most impressive wines.
“Take the Garage Wine Company, for example. Derek Mossmann Knapp has spent the last few years trawling Maule for old Carignan vines, many of which were planted in the 1930s. He works closely with local grape growers to rejuvenate vineyards and ensure a future for both the farmers and the fruit. It is an outstanding project on a truly handmade scale that produces one of the finest Chilean wines I have ever tasted.”
Bibendum Managing Director, Michael Saunders, added: “These new wines are just the tip of the iceberg of our plans for 2012. Our buying team has been very busy recruiting new artisan agencies from across the world, and we will be launching a whole host of exciting projects at our annual trade tasting in London on 25th January 2012.”
The new Chilean wines are available in very limited quantities to the on-trade and independent merchants. Look out for the Garage Wine Company and other new, boutique wines at Read more ]
Gostei muito do Lot # 27 Old-vine Carignan Field Blend 2010 da vinícola Garage Wine Co.
Corte de 80% Carignan de vinhas velhas e 11% Grenache, e com 13,9% de álcool, que totalmente integrado com taninos presentes e bons, e acidez, que é ótima, faz deste vinho uma novidade Chilena, pois estas uvas não são assim tão comuns por lá em seus vinhos.
Como a maioria dos associados MOVI, é uma produção pequena, não à toa, seu nome Garage, engarrafando cerca de 3500 unidades deste vinho, que passa por madeira “neutra”, segundo o enólogo, por dois invernos. Muita fruta fresca no olfato, mineralidade à mostra, boca confirmando as frutas, certo floral no retro-olfato lembrando mel(que segundo o enólogo não é do barril). Bom para carnes vermelhas, lembrei-me logo de cordeiro, caças como a galinha d’Angola, um pato ensopado ou simplesmente assado, devem ficar bons com ele.
Vinho espetacular, um dos melhores dentre os bons vinhos do painel.