Derek Mossman Knapp is a vineyard hunter extraordinaire. In 2010 he won the Geoffrey Roberts Award that provided a travel grant to research the old Carignan vines of Maule in Chile. His travels led to the discovery of what Derek calls â€œwild, untamed, uncared for" vines, many of them damaged by Chile's 2010 earthquake.
Derek has spent the last two years working with local farmers, encouraging them to value their old Carignan vines and helping them to improve their vineyards. Planting densities have been increased, vines have been pruned to encourage quality not quantity, and many old vineyards have been saved. The region's best terroirs have been identified through exhaustive tastings and Carignan grafted onto old Pais vines to provide exciting fruit for future vintages.
Despite the challenges of the earthquake ravaged vintage, Derek has managed to release his first Maule Carignan under the Garage Wine Company label.
Quantities are minuscule. The wine is made in tiny vats; old sparkling wine bottles are reused and filled by hand. The labels' are painted on.
It is an extraordinary wine that has resulted from one man's incredible passion for a forgotten corner of Chile's wine country.
This wine was grown by a small farmer in the Maule. It was farmed by hand and horse with traditional methods of dry-farming 70+ year old vines with vines.
It was fermented naturally in small tanks with open-tops. Caps were punched down by hand and pressing was strictly manual. The wine was aged in barrels over two winters, barrels of three or more uses.
This wine is a tribute to the resilience of the ploughmen farmers of the Maule who have been stewards of the vines since colonial times. The 57th wine we have produced since 2001 it is thus labelled Lot # 57
The nose is floral, elegant and subtle, a little closed at first, becoming deeper and more nuanced with time in the glass. The palate shows great freshness with a thread of fine acidity going through its backbone. It has character, notes of the earth and also those violets only the best CarinÃŒÆ’ena can provide. Plain great, with a long life ahead.