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Caught Red Blended: Garcia + Schwaderer

GarciaFacundoRedBlend.jpgVinography.com has declared this the Age of the Garagiste Winemaker in Chile. Jancis Robinson recently called the country one of the most important wine producers outside of Europe, saying, “In the last few years…a new generation of much smaller-scale, younger, iconoclastic producers has emerged which has turned its insouciant back on the tenets of old” (02/2015). At the heart of this new guarde is MOVI, a collective of smaller, “human-scale” wine producers who are committed to quality-driven independent projects. You specifically cannot be part of a big Fortune 500 company to participate. Members are only chosen to be part of this supportive network after extensive tastings because MOVI members have to believe in other MOVIs’ wines. This is a movement against corporate wineries and towards interdependent relationships in the community; it’s a movement about people.

And at the heart of the movement is winemaking (and life) duo Felipe Garcia and Constanza Schwaderer. They opened their winery (Garcia + Schwaderer) on the cool slopes of Casablanca Valley in 2006, after getting fired from their jobs at corporate wineries for pursuing their side projects. From the beginning, they set out to craft wine as a statement of what they identify as Chilean wine. And that identity, as they see it, is fresh and vibrant, with varietal and vineyard character shining through. Their ‘Facundo’ red wine blend is an ode to this ethos. The majority of the blend is Carignan from 54-year-old, dry-farmed, bush-trained vines grown in the Central Valley DO—Chile’s oldest and most established wine region—rounded out with Cab (from Itata in the South), Cab Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot (all from Central Valley). The wine spends two years in barrel (10 percent new), so its weight is broad, and its blackberry and floral aromatics round toward chocolate and sweet tobacco on the palate, with an interesting undercurrent of graphite. Complex, pleasurable, and well-balanced, the 2010 took the gold medal in the Wines of Chile awards, 2013.

Casablanca Valley has been praised as an up-and-comer on the Chilean wine scene. Widely planted to vine as late as the mid-eighties, it’s the country’s fastest growing wine region, as well as its coolest. The nearby Pacific Ocean contributes a cooling influence (300 mornings of fog per year!). Located in the mid-section of Chile, about 50 miles north of Santiago, it’s also chock full of boutique wineries. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Every new generation needs a new revolution,” and this just may be ground zero for Chile’s.

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