Marcelo Papa on Chile’s success with Pinot

27th February, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

Maycas del Limarí’s Marcelo Papa outlines his altered approach to making Pinot and his belief in the potential for the particular grape in Chile’s Limarí Valley.

Sara Matthews Photography, Brooklyn New York, USA, www.saramatthews.com

Marcelo Papa is winemaker at Concha y Toro’s Maycas del Limarí. Photo credit: Sara Matthews Photography

What factors in your view make a Pinot Noir great?
The Terroir. Pinot Noir are very delicate wines that need optimum conditions to show all the potential. They can be very elegant wines, with complex and delicate flavours, great structure and extraordinary freshness.

What regions of the world have the potential to produce high quality Pinot Noir?
Obviously Borgoña is the first place to go and has great conditions. But Limarí also has a lot to show. Characterized by red clay soils overlaying a chalky base. It has cool semi-arid climate with a coastal influence that allows the vines to benefit from the morning fog. This cloudy mornings and the calcareous soil provide the wines of fresh and delicate character.

How has your own approach to getting the best from Pinot Noir changed over the years?
When you start drinking wine you look for more structure and more intense aromas and flavours, but after years go by you prefer Burgundy or Piemonte style, that provides delicate and fresh wine. This attributes allows enjoying much more the bottle and not get tire after a glass. For me this idea is represented in a good way with the concept: less is more. And Limarí Valley gave me those results.

What sort of evolution in the style and popularity of Pinot Noir are you currently seeing in Chile?
In Chile the Pinot Noir started in cool areas but with a lot of sun and luminosity like Casablanca and Leyda. In my opinion nowadays Limarí and the south of the wine region are the new areas. You can find less voluptuous style and more freshness and elegance.

What is it about Pinot Noir that means it has such global appeal?
Pinot Noir is an everyday wine, you don´t get tired of this variety. Its fresh, delicate and elegant. We need consumers that appreciate and understand this wines.

Is there a winemaker or wine whose expression of Pinot Noir inspires you?
I can´t talk about winemaker´s because I think that in varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir we have to respect the origin, the soil, the climate more than “the elaboration”. Burgundy is one of those places that I get inspired by, but is not the only one. Limarí has this special magic that captivate me allow us to have great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

This interview as conducted by the drinks business shortly after it concluded the Global Pinot Noir Masters 2013, in which Concha y Toro was awarded a gold medal for its Maycas del Limarí Sumaq Pinot Noir from the 2013 vintage. Presided over by a panel of Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, each Pinot Noir was assessed by style and price rather than being judged by country. The full results from the competition will be featured in the March edition of db. For more information on the Pinot Masters, click here.

Marcelo Papa has led the development of Concha y Toro’s Maycas del Limarí Winery, which was conceived in 2005.

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