Pedro Parra and Pais the links in this very highly recommended Chilean double

Pedro Parra and Pais the links in this very highly recommended Chilean double

Pedro Parra “Vinista” Itata Chile 2018, 13%, €23.99 
Blackrock Cellar, Redmonds, The Corkscrew and

This wine from southern Chile is a light to mid ruby. Wild red berries feature in the aromas, with herb notes in the background. Refreshing bright juicy fruit on the palate, a hint of spice too. String quartet rather than full orchestra, it is immediately harmonious right through to the engaging finalé. 

A young beauty from ancient Pais vines. Don’t say no just because you’re not familiar with the Pais grape (also known as Mission). I’m loving this one. Very Highly Recommended. I’m also putting his Cinsault on my list. And I read somewhere that Gamay may also be considered by Pedro.

Pedro Parra (see also Clos de Fous below) is a renowned soil and vineyard mapping expert with a Masters and PhD in Precision Agriculture and Terroir from the Institut Agronomique National in Paris. There are photos of him all over the internet, with 99% of them showing him climbing out of a 6’ deep hole, holes he excavates for soil analysis purposes. No wonder he is also known as Dr Terroir!

He has spent decades working internationally but bit by bit realised he really wanted his own vineyard and winery and so he set up in Itata near the ocean, 500 kms south of Santiago, the capital of Chile. And this gem, the fruit sourced from 120 year old vines planted at 300 m above sea level, is one of the results. The wine has spent one year in untoasted foudre and then spent 8 months in bottle before release. Time well spent!

Pais is a red grape variety of great historical importance. According to it was the first Vitis Vinifera grape variety to be exported from the old world to the new world in the 16th century.

Clos des Fous “Pour Ma Geule” Itata Chile 2016, 14%, €19.99
Blackrock Cellar, Grapevine, Green Man Wines, Martins , The Corkscrew and

Mid Ruby is the colour of this Itata blend (of País, Carignan and mostly Cinsault). It boasts a nose full of red berries, some spice too. There is quite an arresting reveal on the palate, berries and cherries, generous and silky, and there’s a lively acidity in the mix, a harmonious wine, with fine tannins too in the long finish. Very Highly Recommended

The name is a cheeky French expression, to describe the stash of wine the producer is keeping to drink himself (for my gob and my gob only!).  Quite a few French words on the  label including assemblage (blend).

Clos des Fous is about four friends, four crazy guys that have chosen to ignore the experts about where to plant vineyards and to trust their own instincts. But don’t worry, the four are experts themselves, experts with a mission. The four are winemaker Pedro Parra (see his wine above), François Massoc (extensive experience in Burgundy), winemaker Paco Leyton (Altos las Hormigas, Puculan) and businessman Albert Cussen (strengths in admin and finance). 

They are about growing wines over “the Chilean extreme, fresh and unpredictable places, looking for natural balance”. “This is a unique and groundbreaking project based on a delicate and novel terroir selection. Following the Burgundy philosophy, our focus is to achieve wines with minimal intervention, letting the terroir express itself.” 

Clos des Fous (the madmen’s vineyard) is highly praised in Wines of South America: “Their approach produces wines that distinctively express their terroir, made with organic fruit and using techniques that are so minimalist that the wines are vinified without ‘safety nets such as fining or filtering'.”

Looks like they have a good thing going here at Clos Des Fous. Already they have built up quite a portfolio - Pinot Noir is their signature wine -  and you can expect more as they build on Pais, Cinsault, and Carignan. There is granite here so perhaps Gamay and Grenache will be added to the list!