Producer Profile: Around the Secano Interior de Yumbel located in south-central Chile’s BioBío Valley - a particularly spectacular region where thick native Rauli Beech trees – from which the pipas, vessels that ferment & age pipeño are crafted – grow freely once again, Mauricio Gonzalez grows wines of similarly defiant beauty. For decades, the invasive white pine and eucalyptus trees had been planted ad nauseum throughout this verdant valley in Chile’s Zona Sur, all in an effort by the Chilean Government to heed the demands of an ever-demanding paper market. The comparison with winemaking is more than metaphorical; as stated above, the native Rauli trees are just as vital a component in the crafting of real Chilean wines as the grapes themselves. Just as the north of Chile was suddenly – nearly overnight – replete with conventional wineries that steamrolled the countryside, so too was the south pummeled by the introduction of bulk planting of invasive flora. Mauricio Gonzalez’s own career in wine similarly spans this divide: having received an education of sorts in conventional wineries around Mendoza (Argentina) and the north of Chile, in 2016 he found a few hectares of centuries-old bush vines in a remote area of the southerly BioBío Valley; a kind of paradise for him and his family. Atop volcanic soils, he dry farms these gnarly vines – thick and formidable as little trees – of Malbec, País, and Moscatel with an expert’s hand. Vinification takes place in a dirt-floored, wooden barn where the wines – in the traditional practice of Chilean winegrowers – open-top ferment in ceramic amphorae & pipas/tinajas, with no fining, filtration, or SO2, ever. Pure, pure wines.
Vinification: 100% Moscatel from 80 year old vines grown on granite soils. The grapes are hand harvested and fermented on the skins with wild yeasts in amphora. The wines rests for about 6 months before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no SO2.
Tasting: A cloudy skin-contact Moscatel with strikingly beautiful aromatics. Floral and herbaceous, citrusy and briny, with fleshy, ripe tropical fruit on the palate.