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2014 Carinena, Huaso de Sauzal

2014 Carinena, Huaso de Sauzal

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The semi-abandoned vineyards of Maule and their volcanic soils have always been a happy home for the Cariñena grape (more is planted here than any other valley), and a revival amongst Renán and his friends in the VIGNO group of small producers aims to make it internationally renowned. The results are impressive; so much finer and more complex than European Carignans.
Highly distinctive nose; raisined fruit, Amarone-like roasted aromas. The palate is finer; pure blackcurrant fruit and leafy notes - savoury, meaty quality to the dark fruit. Racy and lifted on the long finish. Fascinating; fully mature - something like a Châteauneuf made in Montalcino if that makes any sense?!

Renán Cencino is a well-known viticulturalist in his native Chile (working for De Martino, amongst others), but this latest project is more than simple work - he is trying to recreate the winemaking that his father's generation practiced in the sleepy backwater of Sauzal in Maule, part of a larger movement in the country to challenge the brand-dominated, commercial production culture. His father ran a store in the town, and they had a large port-treading lagar out the back to ferment the local grapes, and though Cencino jnr. later progressed to modern techniques, when the 2010 earthquake hit he reverted to non-electrical (!) means and found the wines were actually better; Huaso de Sauzal was born.

The amazing vines at Huaso de Sauzal are up to 300 years of age (Chile, of course, remained phylloxera-free), are unsprayed, with no use of sulphites during the winemaking process. De-stemming is done manually using bamboo tools, fermentation still takes place in outside lagares, using only natural yeasts; even the pressing is done using rocks to gently extract the juice. These are truly fascinating, 'pure' wines that taste like nothing I have tried from South America and beyond.

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    Huaso de Sauzal
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    Red Meat
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