Garage Wine Company Vigno 2014
Chilean winemakers are working hard to change the image of the country as a producer of inexpensive wine. There is good Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay being made, sourced from the cooler coastal areas, but for red wines it's those made from old vines that really stand out.
Coincidentally, Carignan is a grape that produces its best wine from old vines - and this is where Chile and Carginan are a perfect fit. Valle del Maule is the historic heart of Chile's wine industry, in the past mainly for simple wines for local consumption made from the País grape. Ironically, vines planted for quantity rather than quality have now matured into old vines making quality wine.
Garage Wine Co. were one of the first producers to concentrate on quality after Chile's renaissance in the 1990s. They were founded in 2001, and produce 1,500 cases a year of old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Carignan. They're also the founding members of MOVI (Movement of Independent Vintners), an organisation determined to raise the profile of small Chilean producers.
The wine is quirky and unforgettable. The grapes, from dry-farmed vines, are foot-pressed and pumped over by hand, the fermentation is with native yeasts, and nothing is added to the wine. There's a funkiness to the nose which is often the case with "natural" wines, but there's a wonderful vibrancy to it, with flowers (violets, iris), black fruits (blackcurrants, berries, cherries, plums), and spices (pepper, liquorice, brown sugar). There are some nutty, oxidative aromas, but this maturity is lifted by a fresh, light acidity. A fantastic, very drinkable, and unique wine.
Grape Variety: 8 barrels Carignan, 1 barrel Mataró
Region: Maule, Chile
Food pairing: sausages