VIÑATEROS BRAVOS - ITATA VALLEY
Leo Erazo Lynch is a young-gun blowing our minds. Building on years of viticultural and winemaking experience across the world, and a Masters in terroir, he returned to his native Chile to make wine under his own name. These are the first wines under his own label.
Leo works closely with a small number of traditional farming families in the Itata Valley, an area Leo believes has some of the most extraordinary geology for vine growing in the world. He selects small parcels of old vines on marginal soils that have never been irrigated nor fertilised, supporting these brave viñateros to continue growing grapes. His wines are purposefully structured, driven by fine grained tannins. The cool coastal climate of the Itata Valley allows his fruit to reach full ripeness while never reaching high sugar levels. His wines are light, structured, and complex, speaking to his years of making wine in France and giving us a new take on these old soils.
A Los Viñateros Bravos (for the brave vignerons) refers to the traditional vine-farming families in southern Chile who represent a history centuries old that is disappearing before our eyes. The centralised and mechanised 'wine'making industry that monopolises the country has made winemaking and now grape growing unviable for small producers in the South. Simultaneously their centuries-old original vines, cultivars found no-where else on the planet, are under threat from the government-backed multinational forestry companies who rip up vineyards to plant pine and eucalyptus, replacing sustainable agriculture with forests that irreparably degrade soils and provide no jobs.
2014 Viñateros Bravos Cinsault
Leo works with two families who tend 40 yr.-old Cinsault vines, practicing traditional zero-input agriculture, in the cool coastal zone of Ñipas. Unirrigated roots travel deep into basalt, the wine has incredible length of fine grained tannins which Leo attributes to these marginal soils. Destemmed, 5% WB, 20 day ferment in concrete followed by 18 months ageing. Minimal SO 2 at bottling.
2016 Pipeño Blanco
From the Guarilihue region of Itata, marginal granitic soils, very sandy with large quartz deposits, the climate is kept cool by the pacific ocean. The vineyard sits high on a hill and was planted in 1950. Viticulture is natural (unirrigated and no chemical additions) with a small amount of mineral sulphur applied for powdery. Six months on skins. 25ppm at bottling only. Unfined, one very coarse filter at bottling.