From: Valle del Itata, Portezuelo, Chile
Taste: Distinctive red fruits and lightly toasted orange peel open to raspberry and red cherry layers. The presence of lightly herbal undertones adds a dimension of freshness. Citrus notes weave through the profile, lending a zesty edge that balances the wine’s fruit profile. The body of the wine is light and dry, with smooth, easy-to-enjoy tannins. We highly recommend chilling this down a touch for the most gulpable results.
Pairing: When pairing Pipeño wine with food, the key is to consider the balance between the wine's acidity, fruitiness, and any herbal or smoky nuances, ensuring that neither the wine nor the food overwhelms the other.
Pipeño wine, celebrated for its light to medium body, refreshing acidity, and vibrant fruit-forwardness, offers a remarkable versatility that complements a broad spectrum of cuisines. Its intrinsic connection to Chilean tradition makes it an exemplary partner for local fare, such as savory empanadas or the hearty layers of a pastel de choclo, where the wine’s berry notes and balanced acidity enhance the flavors of these dishes. The smoky nuances present in Pipeño beautifully echo the charred edges of grilled meats, making it an ideal choice for barbecue enthusiasts, whether the menu features beef, pork, or chicken. Its herbal undertones and lively palate also make it a refreshing counterpoint to vegetarian dishes, including grilled vegetables and fresh salads, where the wine's character can parallel the earthy and green flavors.
Beyond traditional pairings, Pipeño’s adaptable nature means it can accompany a variety of international cuisines, from the spice-laden dishes of Mexican, Thai, or Indian origins, where its fruitiness and light body provide a soothing balance to the heat.
Pastel de Choclo (Beef and Corn Casserole)
By Ham El-Waylly
About: In the heart of Chile's Valle del Itata, amidst the rolling landscapes and Mediterranean-like climate of Portezuelo, Gustavo Riffo has been nurturing a deep connection with the land and its viticultural heritage. For over a decade, Gustavo has dedicated himself to making Pipeño, a traditional Chilean wine, leveraging ancient vines that have been a part of his family's legacy for generations. His dedication to preserving the authenticity of Pipeño production is evident in his use of Raulí wood for aging. This practice honors tradition and imparts a unique character to the wine.
Gustavo's journey into winemaking took a significant turn when he received a government grant that allowed him to explore winemaking and farming practices beyond the borders of Chile. His time at Benziger Family Winery in Sonoma, known for its pioneering efforts in biodynamic farming, was transformative. Inspired by the holistic approach to agriculture he observed, Gustavo returned home with a renewed vision for his family's vineyard. He embarked on a mission to convert the land to organic farming, intending to incorporate biodynamic principles. This commitment to sustainable practices reflects a deep respect for the land and a desire to ensure its health and vitality for future generations.
Lomas de Llahuen showcases Gustavo's dedication and his family's rich viticultural heritage. This separate project from his personal label represents a culmination of efforts to produce wines that are a true expression of their terroir. Focused on minimal intervention, the project echoes Gustavo's commitment to organic and biodynamic farming. The wines from Lomas de Llahuen, particularly the Pipeño, showcase the fruits of old vines deeply rooted in the granitic and clay soils of Portazuelo, thriving at an elevation of 300 meters under a Mediterranean climate.
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