I had a quick sit down with Claudia Gómez of Chile’s Viña Garcés Silva earlier this week (you can read more background on this exciting young Chilean project in my blog from last summer).
Gómez has been on the road for three weeks, first stuck in Amsterdam for a bit because of the volcano, then hitting a few U.S. cities. Production at the winery is now up to 15,000 cases annually, with plans to go to 30,000 cases in the next few years. If you want to grow, you have to work the market …
The winery has been working with the Chilean terroir hunter Pedro Parra for about a year now. Together they've gotten the winery's entire Leyda vineyard mapped and have found some spots that aren’t ideal that they’ll remove vines from, heading from the flatter sandy clay portions of the property to the more granite and limestone portions on the rolling hills in the area. That should bring more minerality and acidity to the wines, which are already among the more exciting new, cool-climate wines to come from Chile in recent vintages.
But as they winery makes some changes to its vineyards, while adding additional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir plantings, there’s no inclination to move out of their base in Leyda.
“No, no way,” said the engaging Gómez. “We don’t want to move from Leyda. It’s our town—we were among the first to plant here and it’s what we know.”
The new Pinot plantings will employ Dijon clones brought in from outside Chile, a common practice for new plantings these days, as the vine material available in the country—for Pinot in particular—isn’t always the best. The Valdivieso clone of Pinot Noir, which is common in the country, produces irregular bunches and is better-suited for sparkling wine production. Those looking to make serious Pinot Noir bottlings prefer for a more consistent performer.
As for the 2010 harvest, Gómez has finished with the whites, though the last grapes didn’t come in until the end of April as opposed to a more normal mid-March. Gómez said the wines show bracing acidity: “Really bright and racy,” she said, pursing her lips. Syrah is still hanging on the vine though, as the winery is running about three weeks late due to the long but rather cool growing season.
“It’s going to be a vintage for whites and yields are down about 20 percent,” she said.
If you’re looking for the wines, they tend to be placed more in restaurants than at retail, and New York has proven to be an exceptionally good market. The wines start in the low $20 range and go up from there, a price point that has been sluggish for most wineries in this economy. But nonetheless, Gómez is very happy with the way the wines are moving in the market. It must be what’s in the bottle.
[You can now follow James Molesworth on Twitter, at http://twitter.com/jmolesworth1]
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions