From an extremity of climatic condition as befits one of the most southerly, heavily-rained-on winemaking regions of South America emerges one of the purest examples on the planet of the heritage of Chilean terroir. Claudio Sepulveda of “Anarko” is making wine after a lifelong career of agro-political activism that has taken him to seemingly every corner of Chile’s south, be it in wine or otherwise. At various turns he’s worked as vinification manager for legendary Bíobio producer Roberto Henriquez, harvest supervisor for blueberry farms, assistant winemaker at various operations throughout the more northerly Metropolitan region, meanwhile leading workshops on vineyard management for small organic-plus producers throughout Itata & Bíobio, before finally taking on his personal project that marries his political life with his viticultural one. Anarko is a project that supports the long-time, small-scale growers whose fruit has been historically fleeced by the large wine conglomerate of the area (who have had a monopoly on bulk grape purchasing here) “Concha y Toro,” paying paltry sums to the farmers for a year’s worth of work, resulting in many of these farmers being forced into abandoning grape-growing, thereafter ripping up their heirloom, centenarian-plus vines in order to plant a monoculture of the invasive eucalyptus tree whose raw-product sells at a premium to huge agro-conglomerates of the global paper industry. It is a vicious, toxic cycle that has historically not only not celebrated the ample natural treasures of the region, but worse, actively degraded the region’s environment while keeping small-scale farmers in a seemingly inescapably impoverished position forevermore. Claudio, in purchasing their fruit, is demonstrating another way forward, one that protects the insanely deep & treasured viticultural heritage of the region while also incentivizing away from mass-market farming that yields destructive monocultures, far as the eye can see. The wines are produced from the typical aromatic varieties of the Chilean south, long underprized abroad for irrelevant, financial reasons: País & Moscatel de Alejandría. There is also some Cinsault in the area whose promise here has found resurgence with rising global temperatures in once-cool places. The wines, of course, are pure. They are anarchic but not in the punch you in the mouth sense; they are anarchic in that they chart something beautiful and worthwhile and real, which, by and large, necessarily undoes the day’s orthodoxy. Long live Anarko.
100% Moscatel de Alejandría from Southern Chile. Fermented using wild yeasts and macerated with the skins for a few days in stainless steel. Unfined, unfiltered, no SO2. This is a floral & tropical orange wine that would do well next to a plate of spicy, cilantro-specked Ceviché.