BIO BIO, Chile
Leaning on a network of growers he built during his days as a technical advisor, Gustavo Martinez has assembled a constellation of supremely cool vineyards. Gustavo’s got an echo of Swick Wines logic: distinctive but consistent cellar work in the service of highlighting the special particularities of place and grape. Gustavo plays with what he calls his ‘pipeño method,’ a flirty riff on the kind of cellar work he learned working 2 years with Luyt that combines traditional Zaranda hand-destemmers with steel tanks and French oak barrels. His low abv, highly crushable wines fit squarely into that coveted middle ground: clearly natural and unfiltered but hardly so blasting that newcomers get left in the dust.
Hand desemmed, skin fermented Moscatel aged in steel and then a pass through barrel. Sure it’s technically orange wine but this is definitely more in that ‘enriched white wine’ category. Salty, bright and not as aromatically pushy as Moscatel often is.
Chasselas, called ‘Corinto’ locally, destemmed and skin fermented then macerated for seven months. This cloudy, charming wine is zippy and marine with a nifty structural balance owing to the nature of the grape and that 7 months of maceration.
Cinsault made just like the other wines but with a little more umph and structure.
EL CÁRMEN DE CUCHACUCHA
Ok so there’s old vine and then there’s this… Historic records place these vines back to at least the 17th century and there’s evidence to suggest they’re even older. Located right down the way from some of the earliest Spanish settlements in Chile, these could well be 400-500 year old vines. Astounding. Moreso, the wine is almost in glou glou territory but with even more imagination.