Clos des Fous is an exciting project between four Chilean friends: Pedro Parra (the viticulturalist), Francois Massoc and Paco Leyton (the winemakers), and Albert Cussen, who looks after the business. 'Fous' is the French word for 'crazy men', a reference to what their peers described as their 'craziness' in crossing the traditional vineyard boundaries of Chile to source grapes from vineyards in the extreme conditions further south and east. Pedro is credited with discovering many of the top vineyard sites across Chile, as well as revolutionising the way in which iconic wineries, such as Montes plant and manage their vineyards. The winery is based in Maule, to the south of the main vineyard area, where the 'Fous' make an enviable range of top quality varietal wines.
Clos des Fous has 19 hectares of vineyards in total, which is supplemented by fruit from selected growers. Pedro Parra's key aim was to move plantings away from the fertile plains and up the slopes into the Andean and Coastal ranges, where the rockier soils result in lower vine vigour and deeper roots, which he believes gives better balance and more finesse to the wines. Cauquenina means "girl from cauquenes". This blend comes from non-irrigated old vines, planted on ancient red granite slopes.
Cauquenina is a blend of several varietals. Each lot was vinified and aged separately. Fermentation took place in cement vats. A portion (about 15 to 20%) of the wine was put into new French oak barrels and the other part in one-year-old barrels. The fermentations were slow and careful so as not to over-extract.
A dark ruby-red wine with violet tones and outstanding red and black fruit aromas. Black pepper, tea leaves and notes of graphite and violets come through on the palate, revealing a full-bodied wine. The wine is generous and silky with very fine tannins and excellent acidity which enhance the Cauquenina's liveliness and balance.