Clos des Fous PMG Itata Assemblage 2017
This blend from Itata has notes of tobacco, rose petals, mint, eucalyptus, and a spicy, smoky character on the nose. The palate shows red fruits like caramel apple, rhubarb, and strawberry to lead to a finish of dark chocolate and earl gray tea with medium tannin.
Blend: 76 % Cinnsault, 16% Pais, 8% Carignan.
Clos des Fous was founded in 2008 by Pedro Parra, Francois Massoc, Paco Leyton and Albert Cussen. The four friends were tired of hearing that Chilean wine was all boring, industrial, green, and overripe so they set out in search of the Dark Side of the Moon. Francois and Pedro are longtime friends, akin to brothers, and both have spent much time abroad making wine and working vineyards in Europe. Clos des Fous’ philosophy is to produce wines with tension, from grapes grown in extreme terroir, with minimal intervention in the winery. Clos des Fous owns and manages vineyards in Malleco, Guarilihue, Alto Cahapoal, and Western Aconcagua. They produce a variety of wines and work with multiple iterations of Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Pais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling at their winery in Cauquenes, Maule. Pedro Parra has a Masters degree in precision agriculture and a Ph.D. for his work with terroir. Pedro currently consults as a terroir specialist around the globe in Argentina, Oregon, Italy, France, Spain, Georgia, Croatia, and beyond working with world renowned vignerons like Jean Marc Roulot. Clos des Fous is one of Chile’s most innovative, inspiring, and authentic wineries producing some of the most exciting wines in South America.
Dramatic geographic and climatic changes from west to east make Chile an exciting frontier for wines of all styles. Chile’s entire western border is Pacific coastline, its center is composed of warm valleys and on its eastern border, are the soaring Andes Mountains.
Chile’s central valleys, sheltered by the costal ranges, and in some parts climbing the eastern slopes of the Andes, remain relatively warm and dry. The conditions are ideal for producing concentrated, full-bodied, aromatic reds rich in black and red fruits. The eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry—is home to intense red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
Chilly breezes from the Antarctic Humboldt Current allow the coastal regions of Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley to focus on the cool climate loving varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Chile’s Coquimbo region in the far north, containing the Elqui and Limari Valleys, historically focused solely on Pisco production. But here the minimal rainfall, intense sunlight and chilly ocean breezes allow success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata in the south make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Spanish settlers, Juan Jufre and Diego Garcia de Cáceres, most likely brought Vitis vinifera (Europe’s wine producing vine species) to the Central Valley of Chile sometime in the 1550s. One fun fact about Chile is that its natural geographical borders have allowed it to avoid phylloxera and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted.
A charmer in the Southern Rhône Valley, Cinsault thrives in any hot and windy climate, and finds success in many other countries. It is a parent grape alongside Pinot Noir, of South Africa’s acclaimed red grape, Pinotage. Somm Secret—Given its relatively long history in California, Cinsualt is often “hidden” in the Zinfandel blends of Sonoma and Contra Costa Counties. Historically planted alongside Zinfandel (with Petite Sirah and Mourvedre) in the same vineyard, Cinsault is now an essential part of many “field blends.”