DECEMBER SAUVAGE–ROGUE VINE GRAND ITATA 2018
Moving just south of the Maule Valley, we move to the Itata Valley for our next consideration. Grand Itata represents one of the region’s foremost wines. It is also a powerful example of how underrated great small growers like these are. A wine farmed this meticulously, by hand and with only horse ploughing in France would be considerably more expensive. Here, they’re nailing it and their wine can still be had for a reasonable price. Unlike the Matorral, Grant Itata is based on Cinsault, with a small percentage of País rounding out the blend.
A recent project founded only eight years ago, Grand Itata is a collaboration between friends Justin Decker and Leo Erazo, who hooked up with each other at the University of Conception. Viticulture here is serious and requires manual labor, as the bush vines are planted to granitic hillsides and are dry-farmed. Though Cinsault is rarely used as anything other than a blender grape in France or California, it can be just glorious in the right conditions. The Itata Valley, therefore, must be among the most perfect places for Cinsault. Floral, perfumed, and super zesty, it is a light, fresh red with a charmingly herbal character.