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2018 Cara Sur Criolla Chica Parcela La Totora Barreal

2018 Cara Sur Criolla Chica Parcela La Totora Barreal

Region: Calingasta Valley < Mendoza < Argentina

Grapes: Criolla Chica (AKA Criolla Chica, the Argentine Pais)

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic/biodynamic, dry-farmed, high-altitude (4290 feet!) single vineyard on stony, alluvial soil with quartz; 90 year old Pergola-trained vines, which is common in the area to protect the grape berries from the sun. 30% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation for 30 days, aged 8 months in concrete egg and 1 year in bottle. Another 8 months on the lees before bottling, unfined/unfiltered, with zero added SO2; 12% ABV

Winemakers: Sebastián Zuccardi & Marcela Manini, and Nuria Año Gargiulo & Pancho Burgallo

Not a rosé but a chiseled light red with tannins and power underneath a silk sheet of elegance, this is a very special Pais from Argentina (not Chile, where we normally find this grape in cheerful liter bottles) from a super cool, tiny project with two badass women at the helm!

Formed in 2011 as a partnership between two couples, Cara Sur is at the forefront of a movement in Argentina to revive ancestral vines and produce wines from traditional and lesser known Argentine varieties.  The two couples behind it are Sebastián Zuccardi & Marcela Manini, and Nuria Año Gargiulo & Pancho Burgallo. Sebastian comes from a well known winemaking family and is among the leading lights in the industry. When he and Marcela decided to start their own project, they enlisted the help of close friends Nuria and Pancho, who owned a small vineyard and a tiny winery.  The winery is located next door to Nuria and Pancho's home in Barreal, in the Calingasta Valley of San Juan, north of Mendoza. Here the couple farm an 80 year old vineyard of Moscatel, Moscatel Negro, Bonarda Piemontese, and Criolla Chica (the Argentine iteration of Pais) as well as bit of Malbec. The old vines are cared for using organic and biodynamic techniques and trained in the Tendone system where the grapes grow overhead in a thick canopy. This helps to protect the grapes from the intense southern sun and allows for air flow to help keep the grapes cool and disease free.  Sebastián and Marcela drive up from Mendoza regularly to help out in the vineyards and the cellar. Together they work the vineyard which sits alongside the Los Patos River on stony soil at 1500 meters above sea level. Barriel is a place that has garnered much interest in recent years as having tremendous potential. The stony soils, old vines, dry climate and intense diurnal shift help produce wine that is light and fresh yet redolent with exotic flavor and aromas, a far cry from the rich and heavy Malbecs the country is famous for.  Work in the winery is decidedly low intervention. But these are no rank amateurs. Sebastian's generational winemaking knowledge plays a role in producing wines that are natural yet never flawed, allowing the true flavor and aroma of each variety to shine through. In the tiny space they call a winery, they manage to stuff a bunch of fermenting and aging vessels, including large Austrian barrels, demi-johns and concrete eggs.

We're not big fans of Robert Parker or his palate, normally, but we were kind of impressed to see how he nails it with his review of this wine: "The wines of Cara Sur are rustically elegant. What I mean by that is that they never try to tame a varietal’s more wild qualities but allow them to become focused through the prism of their terroir. They are like a perfect marriage of Alpine and Mediterranean wines with notes of freshly cut herbs, vibrant and high toned fruit, and electric minerality.  The very pale and subtle 2018 Parcela La Totora was love at first sight. It comes from a very small plot of extremely old Criolla Chica vines that produced an unusually pale red (some would call it a rosé), super aromatic, floral, perfumed, expressive and captivating. It was superbly textured, with unusual finesse and chalky tannins that make you salivate. It's long, tasty, clean and delicious and among the best Criolla Chica/País/Listán Prieto I have ever tasted. It has enough fruit and austerity and lots of purity. Bravo!  It fermented and matured exclusively in concrete egg, which seems to respect the character of the delicate wine."

Robert says it well.   This is a very subtle, delicate baby red wine - do not mistake it for a rosé and chill it as such or you will mute its entire being.  But with the perfect degree of chill, 30 minutes in the fridge, the complexity unfolds, with layers of salty minerality and vibrant, high-toned red fruit that seems infused with rose hips or rose petals.  A very special, tiny production wine that we're excited to share with subscribers in the September woman winemaker mix!

SERVING NOTES: chill but not too much - 30 minutes is perfect
Regular price $50.00
Regular price Sale price $50.00
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