Two new wines from the Chilean Crusader
In 2001 Derek Mossman Knapp and his wife Pilar started making wine quite literally in their garage. It was popular with friends, family and a few local businesses, but gained wider acclaim when it was featured in Chile’s El Mercurio newspaper in a piece about the growing, grass-roots Chilean wine movement. The newspaper referred to them as ‘that garage wine company’ – and the name stuck! 15 years later, and Garage Wine Co. is still making premium Chilean wine on a small scale, from dry-farmed grapes grown on centuries-old rootstocks.
All the wines are made by hand with native yeasts in small, open top fermenters, punched down manually and then pressed out in a small basket press. Grapes are transported 2,000 kg at a time and towed back to the winery in a trailer behind Derek’s trusty pick-up.
Single Ferment Series
Previously, Garage Wine Co. has been all about ‘Lots’, or very small batches of wine made from grapes grown on the same 1-2 hectare parcel of land. The wines have been about the place rather than the variety. But Derek and Pilar’s latest venture, the Single Ferment Series, focusses on single fermentations of one grape variety sourced from different parcels.
Cinsault – ‘Soothsayer’s Ferment’
Like other wines from Garage Wine Co. the Single Ferment Cinsault is radiant with red fruits, including classic Cinsault notes of ripe cherries, with a juicy acidity that only very few can achieve with this variety.
The wine includes fruit from two vineyard sites in Portezuelo and Guarilihue which were grown in the same way they’ve been for generations – by hand and horse. After fermentation, the wine was barrel-aged for one winter in neutral barrels for release the following summer.
– Why is it called Soothsayer’s Ferment? Derek explains: “My wife made a premonition that we would not be able to fit everything into the winery’s tank capacity, forcing us to co-ferment. ‘Beware the ides of March’ said my partner come soothsayer, as she mocked my rapacious appetite for just one more site of old-vine fruit, ‘when harvest begins in earnest (mid-March), all of these wondrous little bits of fruit we’ve found won’t be fitting into tank nor bin!’ The Ides came to prove the soothsayer correct, and they didn´t all fit, separately at least, so we just kept putting the newly harvested bits on top of the tank already fermenting.”
Pais – ‘Second Salvo Ferment’
This pale red wine is designed to be served a little cooler than other reds, to reveal and fully enjoy the delicious fruit and earthy notes. A delicious wine to quench your thirst in the summer.
The wine contains grapes from three vineyard sites, two in Puico and one in Truquilemu, co-fermented to make a field blend including traces of Torontel Negro. Like the Cinsault, grapes have been grown traditionally using hand and horse, and after fermentation the wine has been given a few months to age in neutral oak barrels.
– A fact about Pais: Pais came to Chile as raisins aboard Spanish ships in colonial times. Vineyards were planted from the raisins´ seeds, initially, to make wine for Catholic Mass. Some of these age-old vineyards survive and today make a subtler, fresher red with a proper dash of history.
Contact us to find out more about these two exciting new additions to Garage’s range.