Torres to release Chile’s first premium País blend

Miguel Torres Jr is set to release the first premium País red blend in Chile through Miguel Torres Chile.

País Vineyard

“País was a common local variety for around 400 years in Chile and I’m keen to bring that history back. I’m working on a still red wine made from País at the moment,” Torres told the drinks business at the London International Wine Fair yesterday.

“People who used to make País didn’t respect the variety, using it like a work horse grape for bulk wine. I’m going for a top quality premium País, which has never been done before.

“País is a lightly-coloured, thin skinned grape so will work best in a blend with deeply-coloured reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, which we’re experimenting with at the moment,” he added.

Torres is using País from over 100-year-old certified Fairtrade vines from Maule and Cauquenas.

“The vineyards are really unusual – wild and jungle-like, rather than in neat rows, which helps keep the grapes cool during summer,” Torres said.

He plans to take advantage of the 12,000 hectares of País in the country which is currently being ignored.

In terms of character, Torres believes País brings attractive floral notes on the nose and freshness on the palate.

“It also has a little bit of tannin on the finish, which makes it a great food matching wine,” he said, revealing the alcohol would hover around 11% and never reach above 11.5%.

“We’re still experimenting and fine tuning the product, but the potential is definitely there,” he added.

In 2010, Torres released just 1,000 bottlesChile’s first sparkling wine made from 100% País, Santa Digna Estelada Sparkling Rosé from Curico.

This year, 30,000 bottles were made, and Torres plans to up the offering each year.

He is also putting the finishing touches onChile’s first Pinot Noir from extreme wine region Empedrado, just 20km from thePacific Oceannear Maule.

“The aim was to make wine from licorella-like slate soil similar to those in Priorat.

“It took three years just to find the right soil, which we planted with Garnacha and Carignan, but the climate proved too cool for them.

“We had to re-graft the vines with Pinot Noir. Last year was supposed to be our first vintage, but almost our entire crop was wiped out by birds so we had to start from scratch,” Torres lamented.

This year’s harvest is currently fermenting and Torres is hoping to release the wine at the end of next year.

Just 700 cases will be made and the price point will reflect its scarcity.

“It will be at least £25-30 a bottle in theUKoff-trade,” Torres revealed, adding that the wine will offer “spectacular minerality.”

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