2021 Alice L'Estrange 'Wild Sergio', País, Itata Valley, Chile
Alice L’Estrange is originally from Australia but has been living and working in South and Central America for many years, first in direct-trade coffee, then in natural wine importing. In the process, she fell in love with small scale agriculture, and wanted to pursue “the kind of international trade that has positive socio-enviro impact.” For a time, she made natural wines in South Australia with her good friend and business partner Lucy Kendall, but eventually decided she needed a change, and escaped to Chile to make wine “in a place where social and environmental concerns take front and center.” Market forces that depress the cost of local grapes are the main reason for the use of chemical fertilizers and the abandonment of old vineyards in the area. Now, she works with three local farmers, who she has helped to convert their vineyards to chemical-free, regenerative farming practices. These methods are meant to restore the soils that have been damaged by chemical pesticides, but also to protect against wildfires and improve yields and quality.
100% País rom the Los Chorillos vineyard, farmed by Sergio Parra. The grapes for this wine come from the no-till portion of the vineyard, under 150m altitude, mostly south facing. The soils are granitic sandy loam, and the vines are 100-150-years-old. The grapes were destemmed and rested on their skins for 4 days, then was drained without pressing to finish fermenting in neutral plastic eco-tank. There, it quickly developed a flor and rested for 10 months before racking and bottling with residual CO2. The very hands-off approach for this wine was intended to reflect the no-till farming of this portion of the vineyard.