2020 Rogue Vine 'Jamón Jamón'
Region: Rahuil < Itata Valley < Chile
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; old, dry-farmed vines on
granite soil; 7-week maceration on skins then 2 months in concrete
before aging in old 500L barrels; 12% ABV; 178 cases
Winemaker: Justin Decker and Leo Erazo
NEW VINTAGE ALERT! Everyone's favorite (and value-priced) skin-fermented Moscatel (aka Orange wine) from Chile is back!
Itata, Chile is an old and nearly forgotten viticultural valley with ancient bush
vines (like, hundreds of years old) growing on pure granitic soils. The area was once a famous wine-producing region, with vineyards planted in the 1500s, and today is emerging as a hotbed for small-scale natural wine projects. From smart folks who recognize the goldmine in these soils (pure volcanic granite soils that retain water like a dream, and have repelled pests -- even phylloxera, naturally, forever) and the opportunity for reviving the area's rich winemaking traditions. Rogue Vine is one of these newish artisanal projects, led by buddies Leo Erazo, winemaker at one of the Mendoza factories, and American expat Justin Decker. They make wines from two different subregions of the Itata Valley, where their hillside, dry-farmed vineyards are 60-300+ years old, and all work is done by horse plowing and hand farming.
This is a very user-friendly and pretty orange wine, laser-focused and bone dry but extremely aromatic -- it smells like my mom's freesia/gardenia perfume hours after applying. Not in your face aromatic, but subtly intoxicating. In the mouth, it’s savory and puckery but not tannic, with ripe peach, almond, honeysuckle and a pop of black pepper spice. A lovely, happy wine for spring, you’ll want this for Thursday afternoon happy hour with some Jamón' (if you're a pig-eater), or salty nuts. Chill but not too much -- orange wines shouldn’t be served ice cold.