Torres puts its faith in Pais

Miguel Torres Chile is claiming the launch of “the first truly Chilean sparkling wine”. Due to debut in the UK with the 2011 vintage this October, the Santa Digna Estelado Rosé is thought to be the first sparkling wine made from País.

torresbig.jpgThe traditional method, pale pink sparkling wine is made from grapes grown in Cauquenes in the Maule Valley and is then aged on the lees for six months. Although Chile already produces a number of sparkling wines, the majority of these are made from Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

This new País sparkling wine represents the result of a four year collaboration between Miguel Torres Chile and the University of Talca to explore ways of producing better quality wine from Chile’s second most widely planted variety.

The first vintage was produced in 2010 with a limited 1,000 case run which sold out on its domestic market. Building on this initial success, Torres is now making the wine available to the UK.

Explaining the challenge of maximising the quality potential of this variety, which is most commonly used for bulk wine production, Miguel Torres Maczassek, president of Miguel Torres Chile, observed: “País has a very thin skin so there’s not much colour or tannin and it’s complicated to make a good quality red wine.” However, he praised the variety’s “deep roots so there’s no need for irrigation”.

As Chile tries to build a niche for its sparkling wines alongside the competition from established names such as cava, prosecco and Champagne, Torres suggested “estelado” as a possible identity for Chilean sparkling wine made from País.

“If we can get regulations for País and the use of traditional method, then we’re happy to share estelado,” he suggested, adding: “In fact, we would welcome the competition.”

The Santa Digna Estelado Rosé will be targeted primarily at the independent retail and on-trade sectors through Torres agent Fells. The price is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to retail for a little under £10.

Gabriel Savage, 08.06.2011

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