Christian CALLEC

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Posted by Christian Callec on donderdag, april 18th, 2013

Three days long, not less than 44,000 professional visitors from all over the world gathered at ProWein in Düsseldorf. This is good news for this very well organized wine fair in these difficult economic times: nearly 3,500 more visitors than in 2012, 4,783 exhibitors from 48 countries. (…)I spent a long time with old friends from Chile on the first and even second day, visited some USA, Portuguese, French, Italian, Lebanese, Slovenian and Greek stands in the last 2 days. I enjoyed it very much, especially because I had some beautiful and very enticing (re) discoveries! 



Chile had a big booth at ProWein, under the proChile flag. Besides, some companies also had their own stand. A quick round of impressions:

 I brought a quick salutation visit to some wineries I knew and which wines I tasted not so long ago in Amsterdam or Houten.

MATETIC (San Antonio) : That was another ‘turbo-tasting’ of new wines and vintages…

I loved the CORALILLO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 SAN ANTONIO ***(*), very fresh with a salty mineral finish, but the EQ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 CASABLANCA COASTAL **** was even better, really fabulous! Very fresh, juicy with a great mineral finish thanks to the quarts crystals in the weathered granite soil!

Nice, round and tasty CORALILLO GEWURZTRAMINER 2012 SAN ANTONIO ***, lovely aromatic CORALILLO RIESLING 2012 CASABLANCA *** (first vintage, 5 years old vines, very promising!); wonderful, fresh, round and sensual EQ CHARDONNAY 2011 SAN ANTONIO ****, fresh, smooth and juicy CORALILLO PINOT NOIR 2011 SAN ANTONIO ***(*), surprisingly fresh, lovely fruity and mineral EQ PINOT NOIR 2011 CASABLANCA COASTAL ****; round, full-bodied, fresh, fruity, mineral and sensual CORALILLO WINEMAKER’S BLEND SYRAH-CABERNET FRANC-MALBEC 2010 SAN ANTONIO ***(*) and very promising, lovely fruity, fresh, complex and mineral CORALILLO 2011 SYRAH SAN ANTONIO ***(*) from 10 years old vines! (Watch that wine!). We finished the tasting with a highly aromatic, ripe, spicy, elegant, fresh, powerful but never heavy EQ SYRAH 2011 SAN ANTONIO ****. MATETIC is one of my favourite wineries in Chile, getting better and better every year. Highly recommended! Thanks guys for this great and quick tasting!

Among the other wineries I shortly visited were:

J.BOUCHON (Maule) : Great to see Julio Bouchon L. (Junior) again. Last time was in 2010, just after the terrible earthquake destroyed parts of the old winery and family house in colonial style at Santa Maria de Mingre (a.k.a. Mingre). Now everything is rebuilt and is even more beautiful that it was. Very happy to know that! Mingre will remain in my mind and heart a very special place, kind of magic. I was sad to hear that some importers are not really grabbing their chance and only seem to buy the entry and middle range of this very nice winery. Of course, I can’t blame them, those entry and middle range wines are all good to very good and very friendly priced. But for me, the real soul of J.Bouchon and of the Maule region is much more present in the MINGRE and LAS MERCEDES range, respectively icon and top wines. Please, don’t forget those great wines! Let the spirit of Maule talk to you!

Unfortunately, no Grant Phelps at the VIÑA CASAS DEL BOSQUE booth… I have been told by Anthony Crew G. (Export Manager Americas) that he had a pretty good reason… It was harvest time in Casablanca! Who is planning ProWein during harvest time, dudes! (grin)

Zoom zoom very quick welcome-in-your-new-job chat with Bárbara Figueroa, the very charming and kind new Export Manager of MILLAMAN winery. I still have the warmest memories of my visit there, remembering the great landscapes, vineyards and… olive tree plantations! Very nice wines but even better olive oil! I will never forget the ‘young’ lady who stole my heart by cooking a great meal on … my birthday evening! I was sad to hear that the old colonial style house where I slept and enjoyed my meals was gone after the terrible earthquake in 2010. The ‘young’ lady is now still working for the owners’ family in Santiago. ¡Un gran abrazo!

I met there by chance another guy I knew, not from Chile but from … Argentina. He was working for MontesKAIKEN and we had a great tasting there! Now, Eduardo Alemparte Benavente became Business Manager of VIÑA SANTA RITA! What a small world… ¡ Buena suerte y éxito en su nuevo trabajo, estimado Eduardo!

I tasted some great wines, had a good chat and some fun at the New Pequeña stand… a not really clearly structured melting pot of MOVI and other smaller boutique wineries.

I enjoyed very much the wines presented by Jean Charles Villard from VILLARD ESTATE (Casablanca), all very good, but there is one wine that just makes my soul vibrate a little more than the rest: TANAGRA! What a fantastic SYRAH wine!

His neighbour and fellow member of MOVI (MOvimiento Viñateros Independientes, independent boutique wineries of Chile) Sven Bruchfeld from POLKURA (Marchigue, Colchagua) had 3 red wines, all of them absolutely fantastic! I loved all 3 of them: SYRAH 2010 ****, fruity, spicy, elegant, well-balanced and complex; BLOCK G + I SYRAH 2010 ****(*), delightfully fruity, spicy, powerful but smooth and perfectly balanced; MALBEC 2010 **** very floral, elegant, full-bodied and simply delicious. The only white wine was not bottled under the POLKURA brand but as AYLIN LEYDA – SAN ANTONIO VALLEY 2012 SAUVIGNON BLANC ***(*)… Very good indeed, fresh, pure and juicy! Highly recommended, for the wines, the fun and long philosophic talks if you really want it! (grin)

I finished my visit to Chile with another quick tasting and philosophical talk with Sebastián De Martino at the DE MARTINO booth. It was late, we were both tired and Sebastián had caught a bad cold, but for a while it was just nice to be together.

Sebastián De Martino – © Christian Callec

We have been talking about the newest project, the … tinajas! 20 years ago, no one was even mentioning the use of tinajas (amphorae) in wine making, except in Georgia and Navarra. Since the revival of k’vevri (Q’vevri) wines in Georgia, Italy, Slovenia, Austria etc, the world (re)discovered the amphorae as a good vinification and ageing tool! The ‘orange’ and ‘natural’ wines trend is also making this kind of wines more popular. I just had to taste some ‘tinajas’ wines from DE MARTINO. Tinajas (amphorae, earthenware jars) were used in the Chilean wine culture in the far past… This new project was to use – when possible over 100 years – old (Viejas) tinajas with a volume of 100-1200 litres, when possible over 100 years old, to ferment and age wines without any intervention. Quite a challenge, you can imagine! The ideal vineyard was found in Itata region, precisely in the D.O. (Appellation) Secano Interior – Coelemu. In the Guariligüe zone of the Secano (dry farming), a 30 years old un-grafted cinsault vineyard, organically managed and guided in goblet (head pruning), grows on gently waving granitic slopes, at only 22 km from the Pacific Ocean.

The ‘Viejas Tinajas’ (very old clay jars) – © De Martino

The cinsault is known for its low acidity and needs really cooler climate to give enough natural freshness on its own. The wine is fermented naturally with indigenous yeast and kept in the tinajas during the winter and spring until the malolactic fermentation is done. The young wine is then bottled without fining or filtration. The result, VIEJAS TINAJAS CINSAULT 2012 ***(*) is extremely surprising, fresh, lovely fruity with a hint of floral scents; on the palate, a nice freshness (around 5 g/litre tartaric and 3.6 Ph for the 2011, not yet known for the 2012 I tasted) with firm but not aggressive tannins, a round and smooth structure and a nice, very enjoyable finish. No 90+ p.p. yet, but a delicious, natural, easy going and genuine old-fashioned rustic wine to enjoy with simple but tasty countryside food. In Chile, I would personally go for Cabrito al horno con pebre (grilled goat with a tomato-red pepper-onion-cilantro salsa) or chancho a la Chilena (roasted pork with herbs and veggies)… but a plate full of great Chilean empanadas will do it as well!

For rosé wine lovers, a hint: from the same Itata region DO Secano Interior – Coelemu will be released a CINSAULT ROSÉ 2012 ***, very fresh and lovely fruity! Go for it!

For muscat wine lovers, another hint: MOSCATEL 2012 (***+?)… I tasted a not yet bottled sample, from the tank. Wow, fantastic freshness, lovely fruit and lots of juice for this dry wine from ‘rampante’ (un-guided, widely rampant) vineyards!

(No*: wimpy wine, * nice wine, recommended, ** good wine with character, *** good wine with character and complexity, **** very good wine, ***** outstanding wine)

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