Chilean Wines – Dad Was Right As Usual
Dad was not much of a wine drinker, so it wasn’t the quality of Chilean wines that Dad knew about. Dad was really smart but it wasn’t until I was a dad myself that I realized how smart he was and how right on target his advise was. One thing I remember him saying was “Get to know a butcher, banker, and automobile mechanic, these are the people you will need when times are hard.” Dad also said to truly get to know them and care about them and not be superficial. What Dad was really saying was that the world runs on relationships.
Through STREAM SIDE ADVENTURES I’ve been fortunate in meeting a lot of people, many of whom have become my friends as well as associates or clients. Two of the people I’ve had the good fortune to meet are Mary and Marshall Rimann, owners of Rimann Liquors , www.rimanliquors.com . Being a wine lover but not terribly knowledgeable, I went to the source for help on wine as I planned my Chilean fly fishing trip.The first thing they told me was that I would love Carmenère, a variety of grape that is almost exclusively grown in Chile. And they knew exactly who to contact about visiting wineries. Within a day of asking, Marshall had contacted Global Vineyard Importers, www.globalvineyard.com and Jim Powers, with Global, contacted several of their source wineries and provided me with names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of wineries close to Santiago. My advice to my sons’ will be to get to know a Butcher, Banker, Automobile Mechanic and a Wine Merchant!
The first visit was to Antiyal, a small winery located just outside the Maipo Valley town of Alta Jahuel, a 40 minute train ride form Santiago. Antiyal is owned and operated by a lovely young couple, Marina and Alvaro Espinoza. In 2004 Alvaro, who also works as a consulting vintner, was named one of the 50 most influential winemakers in the world.
On approximately 12.5 acres, 2.5 surrounding their home and the remaining 10 on a former almond orchard a few kilometers away, the Espinoza’s produce the grapes for their two wines, Antiyal and Kuyen. Antiyal is a blend of 50 % Carmenère, 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 % Syrah and Kuyen is a blend of 55% Syrah, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 % Carmenère. Their total production is only about 1,000 cases a year. Each bottle is hand number by the Espinoza’s.
The vineyards are completely organic. The spaces between the rows of vines are sowed in wildflowers and grasses to add nutrients to the soil, on the former almond farm the grape varieties are separated from each other by a buffer of almond trees, the pulp from pressings is composted for fertilizer and the vines are cultivated the old way, with a horse.
My second visit was to De Martino Winery located in the sleepy little village of Isla de Maipo. Isla de Maipo, a 45 minute bus ride from Santiago, is one of those wonderful little villages that some how you feel like your belong there or may have been there once before. When I asked directions to the winery from the bus stop, Guy Hopper the marketing director, told me “It’s a small village. You will find it OK. And I did. Since my appointment with was not until 1:30, I found a charming little restaurant for a lunch of fish, potatoes in a garlic mayonnaise, rice, sliced tomatoes and onions salad and a glass of De Martino ” vino blanco” for only $5.00!
De Martino Winery is much larger than the Antiyal Winery, but even with an annual production of approximately 200,000 cases a year, it is still not one of the giant producers of Chilean wines. It is however, likeAntiyal, one of the giants of wine. With vineyards stretching from theRio Elqui Valley 250 miles north of Isla de Maipo to theRio Biobio Valley 300 mile south of the winery, under the direction ofwinemaker Eduardo Jordan at the winery in Isla de Maipo, De Martino is able to produce all the wine varieties we are so familiar with. To me, the best of the best, both in terms of tastes and price, is their 2006 Legado Carmenère produced from the grapes grown in Isla de Maipo.
What a trip. Great wines, great fly fishing, and a wonderful little village to go back to some day.
Rimann Liquors’ 6th International Wine Trip will be to Chile. The trip includes personally arranged private visits and tasting at wineries in the Colchaqua, Maipo and Casablanca Valleys. In addition, the trip will also visit the beautify Lake District, Chiloe Island Puerto Montt and. Quinchao Island, a World Heritage Site. This 11 day trip starts in Santiago on April 27th and returns to the US on May 7th. For more information contact Marshall at 913-492-1604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.