We Meet a Chilean ‘Garagiste’ on our way to Colchagua

By March 20, 2014Winemakers

We laughed when producers of 1 million bottles  call themselves boutique or small wineries. Well, we didn’t laugh today. Yves Pouzet owner of Tipaume Winery, only produces 5,000 bottles! And what fabulous wines they are! He only makes 2 wines, both field blends of viognier, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, lagrima christi and carmenere. One is fermented 3 months in large oak barrels; the other 8 months in large clay amphorae. The results are strikingly different- both are whole berry fermented with natural yeast. The barrel aged adds a roundness while the amphora adds an edge to the wine.

I first met Yves at a trade tasting in New York and discussed plans to visit his home winery on our way to Colchagua. Born and raised in France, Yves has led a varied life: an agronomist by training, he has lived in Peru, India, the States, Brazil and Chile. He is a devoted disciple of organic and biodynamic grape growing. He doesn’t spray, fertilize or irrigate. His 18 year old plants learn to survive in the harsh dry climate.

We were honored to be his first group ever to visit the winery but to get there, we thought we were entering the deepest recesses of Chile: a long long private dirt road. Once there he treated us as family members and had a barrel tasting and alfresco barbecue lunch. This was truly the highlight visit of our tour.

From there we checked into our hotel located within a vineyard and after some of us took a swim in the pool, we walked to the nearby Laura Hartwig Winery where we enjoyed a horse carriage ride around the vineyard. We learned that 75% of all carmenere in Chile comes from Colchagua. We tasted 3 very well made wines: the cabernet reserve 2011, which at $10 was a fabulous buy for a wine with 14 months barrel ageing.; a 100% petit verdot 2009 with ruby color, soft tannins and berry aromas; and their Gran Reserve 2010, a blend of  cabernet(38%), malbec(35%), petit verdot(23%0, cab franc(4%).

We ended a truly delightful day with dinner at the best restaurant in Santa Cruz, Vino Bello.

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