Country: Chile Region: Rapel Vintage: 2014
Category: White Wine Color: White
Producer: Clos des Fous
"A midnight tasting in Chile in March 2011 was our first encounter with the 'Fous' ('crazy men'), when Alberto Antonini introduced us to Pedro Parra, with whom he works closely at several of South America's top estates. Pedro, the viticulturalist, works alongside winemakers François Massoc and Paco Leyton, as well as the fourth 'Fou', Albert Cussen, who looks after the business. The name 'Clos des Fous' refers to the 12 years that both Pedro and François spent studying and working in Burgundy, as well as to what their peers described as their 'craziness' in crossing the traditional Chilean vineyard boundaries to source grapes from those in the extreme conditions further south and east.
Pedro, who was described as a 'modern-day Indiana Jones' by the Wine Spectator, is the person credited with discovering many of the top vineyard sites across Chile, as well as revolutionising the way in which iconic wineries such as Montes plant and manage their vineyards. The key to this has been to move the plantings away from the fertile plains and up the slopes into the Andean and Coastal ranges, where the rockier soils result in lower vine vigour and deeper roots, which Pedro believes gives better balance and more finesse to the wines. The same philosophy is applied at Clos des Fous.
The Chardonnay 'Locura 1' is sourced from the volcanic and alluvial soils of the Coya vineyard in Cachapoal. Situated 26 kilometres deep into the Andes, at nearly 1,000 metres in altitude, Coya is said to be Chile's highest vineyard and the cooler temperatures and longer growing season give verve to the wine.
The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown in a single vineyard called 'Grillos Cantores' (or 'singing crickets') in the Alto Cachapoal, just six kilometres from the Andes mountains. The decaying granite and volcanic rocks that are present in the soil here provide the wine with a distinct mineral character, soft tannins and good levels of balancing acidity. Perhaps their most original exciting wines are their red blends, Cauquenina and Pour Ma Gueule (meaning 'for my gob'). The varieties in these blends change depending on the vintage in order to achieve a complex, fluid, modern red blend. The blends would include to some extent Carignan, Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cinsault, Carmenere and Pais. Cauquenina has some degree of oak influence with 20% of the blend going into new oak, whereas Pour Ma Gueule has no new oak influence and is meant for drinking while young. These off-piste wines are just what you'd expect from a cellar full of madmen!"
Winemaker: François Massoc and Paco Layton
This wine is a blend of two different vineyards, both in the Alto Cachapoal D.O. This is a cold, high altitude area of the Andes mountain range, with a glacial climate, which gives the grapes a natural high acidity, and less sun exposure. The first vineyard has a coluvial soil - a sandy clay - which is very deep and full of volcanic rocks and pebbles, and allows for very deep root development. The second vineyard is the Grillos Cantores vineyard, which has soil made up of an alluvial mix of gravel with limestone, and again allows for very deep root development.
Work in the winery was relatively minimal. They used experience gained from 12 years working in Burgundy to press whole bunches, giving a delicate wine with emphasis on fruit purity and freshness. The Locura 1 Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel tanks with 12 months on its lees. No malolactic fermentation took place. Five percent of the wine was aged in used oak barrels to add further structure and complexity.
Pale yellow with a flash of green. The nose has hints of white peach, pear and white flower blossom. A subtle note of butter on the palate with freshness and brightness, balance and complexity. A persistent and mineral finish.
Food Suggestion: Serve with a ceviche of mahi mahi in coconut milk and lime juice.
Closure: Natural Cork ABV: 14%