Terroir is a big thing in the wine world… It has to do with wines of origin… wines that reflect the geological and geographical and climatic conditions of the vineyards to create wines that cannot be reproduced any place else. Chile has produced wine for more than 450 years, but in the last 20 or so, it has engaged in the search for new places to grow wine grapes… and in a country full of amazingly diverse little nooks and crannies, there is plenty to be discovered!
The Colchagua-based Viña Casa Silva has spent the last 4 years making a go of its own terroir project and today launched its first wine to come out of this cool-climate coastal vineyard outside of Paredones and just 5.5 miles (9 km) from the Pacific Ocean. They flew a small group of winewriters out to the site (see the flight path on the map). Check out “Chile by Air” on Cachando Chile for aerial photos of the Colchagua Valley.
Chief winemaker Mario Geisse gave us the run down on the 40-hectare vineyard planted in 2006 (half Sauvignon Blanc, half Pinot Noir), along with the particular conditions that make the site special: the typical clay-coarse sand soils of the Coastal Mountains, the very moderate temperatures that vary as much as 25ºF in a single day, but that don’t change significantly from season to season, the favorable conditions of water and wind, and other factors to produce one very special wine.
Next stop: Buculemu, the fishing village 5.5 miles due west, to taste the new 2009 Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc from Paredones.
There’s no comparison between this and the Sauvignons you know from Casablanca. None of that peach and ripe pineapple here. This is austere, mineral-laden, and citrusy, bursting with lime and loaded with grapefruit dancing around a stony backbone that makes it easy to drink and keeps you coming back for more. It’s more palate than nose, which is just fine, because after all, it’s flavor we’re after anyway, right?
It’s got a nice texture, plenty of structure, and the body that helps it stand up to a variety of foods… and just to make sure we got that point, they served up an ample selection of seafoods: octopus ceviche, oysters on the half shell, white fish ceviche, Chilean abalone, mussels, reineta, salmon, quinoa salad, and caldillo de congrio (Pablo Neruda’s famed fish soup). In fact, it was the only wine served throughout the entire meal, and no one missed the reds.
This one’s a treat, with a price tag that will keep it that way… at $12.000 CLP, it’s not going to be showing up at the table on a regular basis, but will certainly be savored when it arrives and missed when it disappears.