I sat down with Chilean winemaker Cristobal Undurraga, of Vina Koyle, to discuss going green and biodynamic, plus just what it takes to start a winery from scratch.
Lamoreaux Landing, one of the Finger Lakes’ most prominent wineries, is looking for a new winemaker as Paul Brock is leaving for a teaching position at Finger Lakes Community College. Located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, Lamoreaux Landing's single-vineyard lineup of Rieslings, which debuted in the 2008 vintage, have earned very good ratings and are part of a growing trend of single-vineyard bottlings from the Finger Lakes.
Last week, I sat down with Cecilia Guzmán, the winemaker at Viña Haras de Pirque. She has made aggressive strides with organic farming and environmentally sound practices at the Chilean winery.
Winemaker Sven Bruchfeld has gone from big to small, and that’s just the way he wants it. A few years back, Bruchfeld left his job as winemaker at Chile’s large Viña Santa Carolina operation to focus on his own project, Viña La Agricola, where he now produces a red wine under the Polkura label, along with a Sauvignon Blanc called Aylin. It's "winemaking on a human scale" according to Bruchfeld, who has let his hair grown long since he made the move.
Marcelo Retamal has quietly become one of Chile’s best winemakers. As winemaker at Chile’s De Martino, he’s been on a real terroir kick, developing wines based on varieties that perform best in certain areas—the winery’s $15 Legado line features a Choapa Valley Syrah and a Limarí Valley Chardonnay that offer a rare combination of value and legitimate complexity. Now, Retamal is turning his attention to some of Chile’s old, overlooked vineyards for his next project. Retamal plans to release a lineup of single-vineyard wines based on old-vine vineyards mainly in the southern Maule Valley, where there are 500 hectares of old-vine, head-pruned Carignane vines. It’s a vinous treasure that has long been bypassed by Chilean wineries as the grapes from these vines often wound up in indiscriminate blends.
It was a busy week for winemakers stopping by my office this week. I had sit-downs with Miles Mossop of South Africa's Tokara as well as Chile's Marcelo Retamal (De Martino) and Sven Bruchfeld (Polkura). Mossop is the winemaker at South Africa’s ambitious Tokara winery. Owned by former banker G.T. Ferriera, Tokara is a well-financed project, replete with all the bells and whistles in the winery, though its initial set of releases from the 2003 and 2004 vintages failed to take off here in the U.S.
Thankfully these days, airlines seem to be paying some attention to their wine offerings, both in the main and up-front cabins. I’ve been able to enjoy Pascal Jolivet Sancerre and M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Petite Ruche on my trips to France, for example. Considering it’s an industry where customer service seems to have degraded steadily in recent years, getting a decent glass of wine when you’ve got six hours or more to kill in an airplane seat is welcome relief. So, I decided to do a little digging to see how the airlines are choosing their wines.
I caught up with a pair of Argentinean vintners here at my office today, Ernesto Catena and Jeff Mausbach. Each in their own way are helping to bring some diversity to Argentina's Malbec-dominated wine industry.
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