02.04.20

Viña Ventisquero Goes To Extremes To Preserve Heritage

Press Release

 

Viña Ventisquero Goes To Extremes To Preserve Heritage

 

Viña Ventisquero is the only winery in Chile to produce a País Moscatel blend, which is their first release from southern Chile.  “These old vines are survivors,” says Head Winemaker Felipe Tosso of the 80-100 year old vines from Itata, used to make this blend.   “And the only way to preserve this heritage is to carry on making wines from them.  This is really Chile!”

 

Ventisquero Reserva País Moscatel 2016                                                     13.5% ABV

Available from Davys £10.95

 

País and Moscatel have a long history, being the first two varieties to arrive in Chile some 500 years ago from Tenerife.   Pretty much obsolete now in central and northern Chile, there are still small growers in the extreme south who are producing these grapes, in many instances from 100 year old bush vines. 

 

Felipe and consultant John Duval began exploring the Maule and Itata regions in the deep south of Chile ten years ago and visited up to 20 different areas in search of País vines, opting to source from hillsides, as opposed to the valley floor where the fruit is more dilute.   “It’s easy to have good quality Pais grapes, as the vines require very little maintenance,” explains Felipe.  “Also, the old growers in the historic sites are so knowledgeable - I’ve learnt so much from them!”  The Ventisquero team works closely with its growers to help improve the quality of fruit coming from their vineyards, and encourages good practice by paying farmers three times the going rate for the grapes.  “We know the quality deserves this payment,” says Felipe.  “But the most important reason is that we also have a social responsibility to these small growers, to give them better conditions and encourage future generations to see viticulture as a real opportunity and to continue living in the countryside rather than move to the cities.  Itata, in particular, is one of the poorest areas of Chile.”

 

Experiments on this wine began in 2014 and the decision was taken to co-ferment the País and Moscatel in old oak foudres, as there was no room to ferment them separately.  “Also, historically in the lagares, people used to harvest everything together, so you always had a bit of white as well as red grapes.”  Explains Felipe.  The favoured blend is 85% País and 15% Moscatel.

 

All fruit is hand-harvested; the País about a month before the Moscatel.  Good growing conditions, cool maceration and fermentation in three and four-year old barrels result in concentrated varietal aromas and elegant tannins on the palate, with an ageing potential of 5 to 6 years.  “País has lots of tannins,” says Felipe.   “We want to soften this, but not too much, to give a lighter style of País more suited to today’s drinker.”  

 

Founded in 1998, Viña Ventisquero is fortunate to own vineyards in some of Chile’s key wine producing regions.  They were the first winery with vines in the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, and their Atacama Tara wines have gained recognition worldwide.

 

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Date of issue:                    26th March 2020

 

Further information:        Emma Wellings                                         emma wellings pr

020 8996 5168                   emma@ew-pr.co.uk