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When Jean-Marc Roulot discovered the incredible work and terroir of Bodega Chacra he knew he wanted to collaborate. Both the Mainqué and Chacra Chardonnay are overseen by Jean-Marc from deciding when to harvest, pressing, and vinification.The Mainqué bottling is named for the village where the estate is located, and the label design is a tribute to the biodiversity of the land, namely the network of beehives placed throughout the vineyards. For the 2018 vintage, the grapes ripened earlier than usual, so they were picked early to maintain acidity, and did not go through malolactic fermentation. The wine is then aged in a mixture of 30% in concrete eggs, and 70% French oak barrels (15% new, 85% used) for ten months. On the nose are notes of fresh cream, brown butter, fleur du sel, dried chamomile, and ripe, yellow and green apples. The palate displays the signature salinity you find in all Chacra wines, wrapped in a creamy richness, and finished with bright, crisp acidity. Michelle DeWyngaert
Jean-Marc Roulot brings his incredible experience in Burgundy to the southern hemisphere with this stunning collaboration with Piero Incisa della Rocchetta at Bodega Chacra. The Chardonnay for the Chacra bottling comes from 40 year-old vines grown on river stones covered with crushed white calcareous rock and this wine is the perfect medium for displaying the unique terroir of Rio Negro. The grapes are picked in the early morning and pressed immediately into vertical steel tanks and aged in a combination of 20% concrete eggs, 15% stainless steel tanks and 20% used French oak barrels for ten months. This bottle is immediately transporting with the scent of the wax seal made from the beeswax of the hives situated throughout the vineyard. Upon opening the nose is subtle, but with time and air, blossoms with notes of fresh chamomile and honeysuckle, white peach skin, crème fraîche, and wet stone. The palate highlights minerality and vibrancy; clean, fresh, powdery texture invoking the calcareous soil, with plenty of refreshing acidity tempered by the partial oak aging. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle young, the balance and structure warrant cellaring for 5-10 years, if you can be so patient. Michelle DeWyngaert
Sin Azufre began as an experiment to see what would happen if you made a wine without any intervention; no temperature control, no pH readings and adjustments, and without the use of any sulfur. The result is a wine that feels "alive," that vibrates with energy and purity. Chacra was already doing conscientious work in the vineyard (farming biodynamically, encouraging biodiversity, etc) so it was a natural progression to attempt to make a wine as "naturally" as possible. This year's Sin Azufre, 100% Pinot Noir from their estate vineyard plot planted in 1955, is clean, expressive, and distinctly savory. The grapes are fermented in alternating layers of whole cluster and destemmed fruit, foot-crushed, and aged in a mixture of cement, neutral oak, and some steel. Bright red fruits mingle with notes of rosemary and soy sauce, a balance of umami and salinity that gives this wine a real sense of place. The palate is bright and lifted with soft, silky tannins. Despite the absence of sulfur as a preservative, this bottle held up for several days after opening. Michelle DeWyngaert
The 'pipa' in pipeño refers to an old Chilean tradition of making large batches of wine in open-top barrels and then distributing this wine by the jug-full, right from the barrel, throughout the neighborhood; a wine of, and for the community. With País vines at least 250 years old, winemaker Manuel Moraga Gutierrez continues the legacy of his ancestors. He uses a short maceration to keep this wine juicy and supremely drinkable. The nose is incredibly aromatic; peppery with lots of ripe purple plum, blackberry, raspberry, and a touch of smoke. The palate has a nice concentration and weight with subtle tannins and lots of acidity making this a great option with or without food. Michelle DeWyngaert
Cara Sur is bringing some of the oldest vines in Argentina back to the forefront. This bottling is 100% Criolla Chica (otherwise known as País in Chile, or Mission in California) from 80 year-old vines in San Juan.The grapes are partially destemmed and fermented in concrete before aging in large vats for eight months. Think of this wine like an Argentinian "pipeño" bright, pale, and dangerously easy to drink. On the nose are notes of rose petal, rooibos tea, and wild cherry, and the palate has just a hint of tannin, juicy cherry and cranberry, with a crisp, tart finish. Enjoy this with a slight chill on taco night or all on its own! Michelle DeWyngaert
Cuma is a 100% certified organic bottling of Malbec from the Calchaquí Valley. Meant to be drunk young and showcase the freshness of their high elevation fruit. The juice is fermented at cool temperatures and in stainless steel to maintain brightness in the wine, making this a juicier, fresher style of Malbec.
A family affair with two brothers at the helm creating classic examples of Mendoza's most famous grape varieties. This Malbec bottling is made from organically farmed grapes from La Consulta, Luján de Cujo, and Medrano. The grapes are fermented with three daily pumpovers to build color and extraction, and then aged for 10 months in American oak to soften the texture before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The wines of Herrera Alvarado are a testament to the incredible history and terroir of Chile and the lesser known region of the Marga Marga Valley. The Natural Blanco is 100% own-rooted, dry and organically farmed Sauvignon Blanc, fermented in concrete with two days of skin-contact for just the slightest bit of texture and a deeper color. The wine is then racked into old barrels where it is aged for 12-15 months and then bottled and corked by hand, with nothing added and nothing taken away. The barrel aging makes this a Sauvignon Blanc that drinks more like a Chardonnay; showing more depth and creaminess. The nose has a dried quality with chamomile tea, dried grasses, grapefruit pith and a bit of browned butter. The palate is dry but has richer baked notes of peach, yellow apple, and a squeeze of Meyer lemon. Michelle DeWyngaert
Sometimes people forget that culture and history play a big role in terroir, not just the location. This is exemplified in the wines of Arturo Herrera and Carolina Alvarado. Working out of a barebones winery with no electricity, their commitment to the winemaking traditions of their ancestors is not only commendable, but rewarded with beautiful, ethereal wines that have not just a sense, but a declaration of place. They practice the traditional Chilean technique of fermenting the grapes on taut cow hides and then pressing the juice through as a natural filter. You would expect this to give the wines an overwhelming barnyard quality but instead it leaves just a pleasant leathery aroma, and a savory quality to the wine. These old, own-rooted Pinot Noir vines display a lightness you only expect from cooler climates, and an enticing mix of dusty soil and crunchy red fruit. There is nothing added or subtracted from this wine, including SO2, so we do recommend that you drink this within a day of opening. Michelle DeWyngaert
Pedro Parra is champion of terroir. After getting a PhD in the subject and consulting for some of biggest names in wine-making worldwide, he began this project with his family in their homeland, Itata, Chile. The 'Imaginador' is a unique Cinsault from 70-80 year old head-trained vines, but because of the more than 200 year history of this vineyard, there are smatterings of Muscat, Semillon, Carignan, and País planted throughout that make their way into the blend. Pedro purposefully sought out pockets of granite for the vineyards he works with because of the structure it gives to the wines. The nose has a deep intensity of ripe red and black cherry and a touch of barnyard in the best way. The palate is fresh and focused, with the granite coming through clearly in the finish. Michelle DeWyngaert
Tikal is a true labor of love for the Catena family of Mendoza, Argentina; an effort to create a thriving biodynamic winery paying homage to the ancient Mayan and Incan gods of the Sun and Earth in their design and in the blends of their wine. The 'Amorio' is 100% Malbec from ~44 year old, ungrafted vines in the Paraje Altamira region of the Uco Valley. The wine is fermented in concrete with native yeasts, aged in 60% new oak and then bottled unfined and unfiltered adding to the rich, unctuous texture of the wine. Displaying notes of stewed raspberry and plum layered with nutmeg and coffee grounds. This will be an excellent pairing for brisket, rack of lamb, and other intensely flavored dishes. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is an introduction to Chilean Carignan from David Marcel at Viña Maitia. Vines are about 70 years old, and the grapes are fermented in lagar, and aged in concrete. The aroma of fresh soil hits you first and a just a touch of barnyard followed by rich black plum, raspberry, and red apple skins. The palate is plush and juicy with soft, pleasant tannins making it easy to enjoy with or without food. The finish is distinctly stony and savory on this easy drinking medium-bodied wine. Michelle DeWyngaert
"Pipeno" actually translates to barrel, but in this case it refers to an old tradition of making large barrels of juicy, quaffable wine for everyday drinking, and this wine is a perfect example. This wine is 80% Pais and 20% Carignane from 120-year-old vines. The Pais is destemmed with a traditional zaranda, while the Carignan is left whole-cluster, then both are fermented in concrete vats before bottling with small amount of sulfur. I would describe this as a cheerful wine; full of juicy red fruits, tart cranberry, with hardly any tannin or extraction, and just enough body. Serve this chilled and happily enjoy a glass or two with or without food, but definitely with friends. Michelle DeWyngaert