Vina Gonzalez Bastias Matorral 2019
This 100% estate Pais is from a 200-year-old single vineyard in the Maule region. Sweet notes of plum, almonds, anise, and brown sugar on the nose with hints of pineapple sage, pine nettles, and brown sugar lead to a smooth, nicely balanced palate. This wine has a wild almost salve quality.
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Gonzales Bastias is a town, and a small, family owned winery in Western Maule owned and operated by Jose Luis Bastias and Daniela Lorenzo. The property and vineyard are accessed by crossing the Maule River by canoe from the local train station between Talca and Constitucion. Jose’s family planted their 4 hectare vineyard in the early 1800’s and they have been cultivating it ever since. Jose farms and vinifies biodynamically and without the use of machines. All the fruit is pressed by hand over bamboo zarandas in to open top cement vats. The wines are then aged in either barrels or amphora. These wines are all made without corrections and without the addition of sulfur. Their Pais wines from their sandy, gravely soil are some of the most unique expressions in Chile and are remnants of Chilean ancestry, which is in danger of extinction.
Maule is the Central Valley’s most southern and coolest zone, reaching a southern latitude of 35°S, yet it is still warmer and drier than Bío-Bío to its south. The Maule Valley enjoys success with a unique set of grapes.
It lays claim to the local variety, Pais (synonymous with Tinta Pais, which is actually Tempranillo), which has dominated much of the region’s area under vine until the recent past. Now many growers, not confined by the tradition and regulations of the Old World, also successfully grow Cabernet Sauvignon.
While Maule’s total area under vine remains relatively static, its old Carignan vineyards are undergoing a great revival. The VIGNO (Vignadores del Carignan Vintners) group, an association in charge of promoting this long-forgotten variety, is getting fantastic results from the old vines in its dry-farmed coastal zones.
The Maule includes the subregions of Talca, San Clemente, San Javier, Parral, Linares and Cauquenes.
Planted as the first vitis vinifera wine grape in the U.S., País has a long significant history in the Americas. Originally from Spain, where the grape is known as Listán Prieto, it was brought by Spanish colonists to Mexico in 1540 and, later, during the late 1700s, to Mission San Diego in California where it would take on another new name, Mission. Propagated for its use as a sacramental wine, Mission remained important in California until the spread of phylloxera in the 1880s. Somm Secret—In Chile it is called Pais. In Argentina, Pais is known as Criolla Chica.