Cyril Penn, editor of WineBusiness.com visited Chile last week thanks to a Project of Villaseñor Vineyards co-financed by ProChile to show him the South Patagonia Wine Zone in Los Lagos Region in the Puelo River, plus Araucania and Bio Bio Region.
Cyril Penn came to Chile 12 years ago and he visited several large and medium-sized wine companies, and it was a great visit, however, in this opportunity, he visited the Itata Valley where he tasted Wines from winemakers and wineries like Reserva de Caliboro, Huaso Sauzal, Clos de Fous, Bouchon Wines, Pencopolitano, Pandolfi Price and Santa Berta.
Also, while driving along the Bio Bio Region, Cyril visited Bandido Neira Winery in the área of Guarilihue, tasting several Wines and sparkling also made by Lucía Torres from Mirador del Valle Winery.
He also visited the vineyard of Alto Las Gredas own by Maria Victoria Petermann in a rainy day.
“This past week’s visit was quite different, however, because I visited smaller wineries where the winemakers are focused on terroir – on making special wines with a sense of place, wines that reflect the vineyards they come from, wines with unique personalities. These wines are made in small quantities and are a little more expensive to produce. I tasted several impressive wines and learned a few things.” said Cyril Penn to AndesWines.com
Pedro Parra and Francois Massoc arranged a special tasting with other winemakers in Cauquenes where Cyril Penn tasted and discussed several wines. Some of his favorites were made by: Clos des Fous, including a very special old-vine Malbec and Pinot noir sourced from various vineyards; Other standouts at that tasting included Huaso de Sausalito and Santa Berta.
Penn said: “I didn’t realize there were so many old vines in Chile where the grapes harvested go to co-ops and are sold to bulk producers. That said, there are small wineries that are starting to use some of these old vines to produce premium wines, for instance Vina de Neira makes an impressive Cinsault and a sparkling Cinsault from old vines. It was a pleasure to meet Lucia Torres Peñailillo of Mirador del Valle who produces a pure, expressive traditional and sparkling Moscatel de Alejandria – one of the best I’ve tasted.”
¿Something you can highlight of this trip?
As you may have heard, Villaseñor Vineyards has a very special experimental vineyard in Patagonia, which may be the southern-most vineyard in South America. It is producing a very good Pinot noir. Under their Kenos brand, Villaseñor also makes two wines that I was particularly impressed with – a Cabernet Franc and a Petit Verdot.
I had heard about the recent movement in Chile in which smaller producers are focusing on terroir, but there’s nothing like seeing it, and tasting it for yourself.
In the next couple of months, Cyril Penn will publish an article of his visit in Wine Business.