Grapevine Archive for South America 2014

Tue 11 Feb 2014

Uruguay: The Pisanos – A Barrel Of Laughs

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Right to left: Eduardo (viticulture), Gustavo (head winemaker), Gabriel (winemaker), Daniel (sales).Right to left: Eduardo (viticulture), Gustavo (head winemaker),
Gabriel (winemaker), Daniel (sales).

The Pisanos are great fun to be with, produce one of the best barbecues in South America (which includes grilled vegetables, not just meat), and make lovely wine too.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

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Mon 03 Feb 2014

Argentina: Alejandro Vigil In Thoughtful Mode

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Alejandro Vigil is Catena’s gifted winemaker. He is brilliant, mildly eccentric, playful, full of energy and great fun to be with.

Alejandro Vigil

Each year it’s a great pleasure to blend The Society’s Exhibition Mendoza Malbec with him.

He has his own project too, called El Enemigo, and we have just purchased some of his wine for our Vintage Cellar Plan subscription scheme.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.

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Fri 31 Jan 2014

Uruguay: Willows Soaking, Drinking Mate

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Willows in Uruguay

In Uruguay they still use willow (mimbre) to tie up the vines after pruning. They are soaked first to improve flexibility.

Daniel Pisano making mate

Daniel Pisano is making and drinking a mate made from yerba mate (llex paraguariensis) which is popular in Uruguay and Argentina.

Daniel Pisano drinking mate

We have bought some wines from Pisano which will be available later this year.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.

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Tue 28 Jan 2014

Postcard From Chile: Machas

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Machas

Machas are Chilean saltwater clams. They are bivalves with the scientific name mesodesma donacium. Their flesh looks like a stone-age flint head.

They are grey when raw but turn a lovely pink when cooked. The flavour is quite mild.

Machas

One of the most common dishes you will find on a menu in a Chilean seafood restaurant is Machas la parmesana, a gratin of machas with cheese, which is rarely parmesan in Chile.

Creamy dishes are giving way to lighter dishes where the favour of the seafood takes centre place. Today Peruvian cuisine has made it to Chile.

This mixed ceviche enjoyed at La Mar, an excellent Peruvian seafood restaurant in Santiago, has a macha in the foreground.

Machas

But where’s the wine? Look out for a number of seafood-friendly Chilean finds in our forthcoming South America offering, available from 3rd February.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.

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I went to visit the unusual Itata Valley, 400 km south of Santiago, Chile, with Sebastian De Martino and winemakers Marcelo Retamal and Eduardo Jordan.

Itata Valley

Left to right: Eduardo Jordan (winemaker) , Sebastian De Martino (sales director), Marcelo Retamal (head winemaker) standing in the old cinsault bush-vine vineyard from which the De Martino Gallardía del Itata Cinsault comes from.Left to right: Eduardo Jordan (winemaker) , Sebastian De Martino (sales director), Marcelo Retamal (head winemaker) standing in the old cinsault bush-vine vineyard from which the De Martino Gallardía del Itata Cinsault comes from.

It’s unusual for Chile because there is 1100mm of rainfall and vines need no irrigation. Indeed it felt quite European. There is much greenery and evidence of moisture from the mushrooms.

Mushroom in Itata Mushrooms in Itata

Most vineyards in Chile are irrigated, trained on wires and on flat land so it was novel for me to see in Chile unirrigated bushvines on rolling hillsides.

Itata

There is mainly cinsault and muscat planted here. De Martino’s Gallardía del Itata Cinsault 2013 is now available for £8.95 per bottle.

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.

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Mon 20 Jan 2014

Postcard From Chile: Picoroco

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This is the oddest thing I have eaten.

Picoroco

It is delicious with a taste in between a scallop, brown crab meat and a clam. Called picoroco in Chile, it’s a giant barnacle (austromegabalanus psittacus).

Picoroco

It is often served in seafood stews over there. It can be boiled or steamed but the best way to cook it is to put it on the barbecue and pour a few drops of white wine into the cavity. It squirts out juice when ready, like a mini volcano erupting.

Picoroco

Pull out the claw and the edible part is attached to it. There’s not much meat but it’s delicious.

Picoroco

While you can’t find this in England at the time of writing, a perfect accompaniement would be our first sparkling wine from Chile, Subercaseaux, named after Don Melchor’s wife’s surname, a delicious pinot and chardonnay sparkling wine from Limarí.

Look out for this wine in our forthcoming South America offer, which will be available from 3rd February. Substitute grilled scallops for the picoroco!

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.

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Fri 17 Jan 2014

Postcard From Chile: Pan Casero y Pebre

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The way you start a meal in Chile is with lovely warm, rustic homebaked bread, pan casero, straight from the oven and a spicy salsa called pebre made of coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed spicy aji peppers. It is sometimes made with tomatoes too and varies in spiciness.

Pan Casero y Pebre

This is to whet your appetite for our South American offer, which will be available from 3rd February!

Toby Morrhall
Society Buyer for South America

Stop press (5/2/14): our new South American offering is now available online until Sunday 2nd March.

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