Pipeno Santa Juana 2016

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Chile is not generally associated with natural wine. Natural wine is not often associated with cleanliness and precision. Enter the Pipeno red from Chile’s Maule region, made by French winemaker Louise Antoine Luyt. Luyt focuses entirely on very old vines. In particular he seems obsessed with Pais, a variety that was once the backbone of the Chilean wine industry before Cabernet Sauvignon took hold.

This particular wine is made from 150 year old Pais vines, made by trampling whole clusters prior to manually separating stems out from the juice and fermenting that juice in open vats, resulting in a lighter-bodies macerated wine.

First off, this is a nice glass of wine after a hard day’s work. Take my following comments as you please, but remember this is true.

This is an interesting example of natural wine. It is well designed. That said, in my view there is too much hype over this producer. This particular wine is not complex or particularly interesting, but it is good, easy to drink, clean, well structured, and good value. In short, it is a good value drinkable wine, just as all good wines should be. But, good value wines are not exciting terroir wines with immense complexity. So, this is a great example of a close to ideal version of good value contemporary winemaking for contemporary tastes. But, it does not deserve to be over-hyped and I do not feel this particular wine has any particular expression of place. There are plenty of Loire Valley wines that have been made in this style for a similar price for many years. The best examples of such wines offer more interest in that they speak of both site and variety with greater clarity than the Pineo.

However, I am more impressed with this producer’s white wine, which is more inventive and distinct. It still does not have a strong sense of place, but it is a more compelling wine with with a more complex range of flavours that is more distinct compared to competitive offerings.

Sold in 1 litre bottles.

Very Good
$33 + tax at Marquis


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