January 21, 2021

JamesSuckling.com | De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault 2018

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De Martino Cinsault Itata Viejas Tinajas 2018

Chile is making more unconventional but super authentic and fun wines that are increasingly fresh and drinkable. These wines are often not the result of those signature grapes and blends that Chile has a name for, but instead, for red wine, are created at the darker, denser end of the spectrum, with carignan, syrah, and malbec. On the lighter end of the spectrum varieties like pais, cinsault, grenache, and other Mediterranean grapes shine with freshness, transparency, succulence, and even simplicity. They are the new promises the country offers, which will reward those lighter palates that tire of chewing big, monolithic reds.

Predictably, many of these wines are not made to suit the market’s mainstream demand. Most of these wines reflect winemakers’ own pursuits with particular grapes or styles and are often realized through a more natural approach, showing unfettered creativity, freedom, and innovation.

Morande, for example, a leading and innovative winery, invited its winemakers to create avant-garde wines in a bold, experimental winemaking“Adventure” project. Chief Winemaker Ricardo Baettig has been making a blend of Mediterranean varieties that mixed grenache, syrah and carignan with a bit of marsanne and roussanne. We found it an exuberant wine with an exotic perfume that leads to red-berry juiciness and high-toned acidity on the palate with a smart, nutty oak touch and a tight structure -from the dry Loncomilla Valley of Maule, this is Chile’s answer to Southern France and is extremely drinkable. Ricardo’s Creole went even further, which combined the Cinsault from Itata and país from Maule and created a highly natural wine that has immense drinkability underscored by transparent, vibrant fruit that benefits from carbonic maceration in cement egg-shaped tanks. At the same time, país added an intellectual rusticity to the wine. There are more projects like this now happening in Chile, especially in Maule and Itata.

For example, to look at cinsault more closely, De Martino also referred to some carbonic maceration with amphora, as indicated by the name “Viejas Tinajas,” the “old amphora.” Longaví’s Cinsault Secano Interior Glup 2019 was another successful cinsault fermented with wild yeast that delivered a fresh, succulent, and crunchy red showing immense drinkability. Singular grenache also found a new place in Maule and Itata. Some producers like P.S. Garcia and Maturana grafted it upon old vine país, giving this variety some new possibilities through layers of exotic freshness, brighter acidity, and enhanced drinkability.

So while these reports always highlight great value wines, this time we picked wines from different varieties that highlight Chile’s new wave of winemaking and wine appreciation. These wines wow you with their simplicity embodied in bright, juicy fruit and crisp or crunchy texture. Lightly chill them, sit back and enjoy with pizza, chips, and maybe a movie!

– Zekun Shuai, associate editor in Beijing

Download the review here!