Six year anniversaries don’t tend to get celebrated much outside of kids birthday parties. But six years on from the enormous 8.8 magnitude quake (the sixth largest ever recorded) that struck Chile on February 27th we’re delighted to mark this occasion with one of it’s unexpected outcomes.
The Maule region south of Santiago was particularly hard hit by the quake. Home to many ancient vineyards farmed by small growers rather than the usual mega-corporations that dominate Chile’s exports, it’s becoming the go to zone for anyone interested in authentic, naturally reared wines that represent the essence of the land rather than a bean counters marketing vision.
Into the post-quake mess came Derek Mossman-Knapp, an American who had started work on a small scale wine project under the names The Garage Wine Co, unsurprisingly his first wines were made in his garage. Together with a funding grant from the UK’s Geoffrey Roberts Award scheme he set out to create high end, sustainable wines from the wreckage of Maule.
Derek explained the deal in an interview for The Drinks Business, “Something needed to be done. I saw the farmers as they were getting up, brushing themselves off, and getting on with things. Their resilience was inspiring. I proposed that instead of maximising the vineyards’ kilos for bulk wine, we could, together, make wines of place, one from each parcel, and bottle them separately – no matter how small.”
The first wine from this rescue plan is now in bottle and has garnered an enthusiastic 92 point review from Robert Parker’s man in Chile, Luis Gutierrez. Utilising the over 100 year old vines farmed by Don Nivaldo Morales and his wife Otelia this is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the hulking fruit n’ oak bombs coming out of the central valley near Santiago. It also happens to be rather good with food, complementing rather than dominating meals.
We’ve long admired these wines and it’s a great pleasure to be offering it by the glass on our special Ploughmen’s anniversary lunch. Book a spot today to discover this inspiring project for yourself.