FORGOTTEN CHILE “You cannot grow terroir.” –Pedro Parra
World over, It’s been known Chile has a historically influential love affair with Bordeaux. Most recognized for the export of wine made from French red varietal blends, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and increasing Syrah. What looks to us on labels are the familiar faces of northern regions such as Casablanca and Maipu. Nonetheless, the far southern wine-growing regions of Chile, are one of the utmost areas to watch out for. Itata and Bio Bio are pounding the door on the wine scene and it is where this wine, Pencopolitano, had me at “HELLO”.
Concepcion, nested between the Itata and Bio Bio Valleys, is an oddball of a province in Chile’s arid climate. In general, the wines of the country express the rich fleshy fruit of California, yet have the restraint of Bordeaux styles. However, in the south, a unique transformation takes place because of the influence of the cool Pacific Ocean, higher rainfall, and cloud coverage. This slows ripening, allows more acid retention in the grape, resulting in a crucial component of any balanced wine. Moreover, its GRANITE, GRANITE, mas GRANITE, this region is treasured for.
CRAZY FOR GRANITE
Currently, there’s “Wine World War 2” going on. Wine regions across the globe are aggressively enacting laws to protect themselves from claims and/or their names being used on wine labels that distinguish themselves from others. Pedro Parra, a mover, and shaker originally from Concepcion have been revolutionizing to legally protect the granite dominated soils of the southern hemisphere of Chile. Itata and Bio Bio is an area proudly in a time warp, isolated by granitic mountains. Wine producers here are completely disconnected from wine trends that happened in Chile in the last 40 years. Parra’s objective is a French parallel and that is to make transparent wines that reflect it’s terroir, but, on pure granite soils. Bordeaux varieties need not apply for citizenship, as they are not welcome in this part of the country.
Picture of PEDRO PARRA from his website
CONSULTANT TO THE STARS
One would spare the thought of a Chileno of humble beginnings rooted from the technical centric city, Concepcion, would become one of the leading authorities on terroir in the world. He holds a master’s degree in precision agriculture and earned a Ph.D. for his work with the terroir from the Paris Center of Agriculture. As an esteemed consultant, he’s been hunted down by some of the globe’s famed vignerons in countries such as Argentina, the USA, Italy, Canada, France, and Armenia! However, family man first, his vision for such an ambitious endeavor was personal that began 15 years ago. They say home is where the heart is and his love for his land and most important his family, is the center of his universe.
PENCOPOLITANO PEDRO PARRA y FAMILIA REVIEW
This is a thoughtful blend hand-harvest organic grapes 30% Malbec, 25% Syrah, 19% Carmenère, 11% Carignan, 11% Cinsault, 4% Pais.
A radiant medium red ruby-crowned with a soft pinkish hue at the rim.
Medium Intensity with fresh-picked ripe red mountain berries, of red currant, juicy cranberries, wild strawberries delicately perfumed with Cherry blossoms, hibiscus, undertones of savory dried herbs and underbrush, and a focused mineral element.
Dry, medium+ acid, medium body, medium+ alcohol, solid medium+ tannins, stony texture medium+ intensity with ripened fresh juicy red fruit, gently floral, brown spices nutmeg, and cloves, savory components of bay leaf and mint leaves lifted with a spicy kick of cracked red peppercorns and pink rock salt, a precise wet stone mineral core, and long smooth finish.
This is a type of wine that can be personal love. It’s truly balanced for its bright fruit, concentrated mineral streak, awakens the palate with spicy tones, and pretty aromas. Both beautifully refined yet sharp. The varieties would suggest a big wine with rich fruit and masculine aromas. It could disappoint someone looking for such a wine composed of these grapes known for their high decibels. Yet, get to know a wine made in the right hands of a producer who recognizes all the factors that make great wines.
“I hope to help all those brave vignerons that protected for more than 200 years their vines, against the industrial forest companies, against politicians, against the big wine industries who abuse them, paying them almost zero for their best grapes. And I dream to see those places, and my home, Concepción, becoming the wine center of the universe.” – Pedro Parra
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