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Wine Advocate Score: 92
Get your palate ready for some unique and lively wines that also happen to be highly rated by Wine Advocate! In the world of wine, “old world” brings to mind wines with freshness, a sense of where they came from and the growing season, and accompany food well. But “new world” wines can be made in this direction, and the range from Garage Wine Co. in Chile is one of our favorite examples of this! It was started in a garage, though it also recalls the small-production garagiste wineries, particularly in Bordeaux, who have challenged the idea that great wines can only be made by grand estates.

Garage Wine Co. was started by couple Derek Mossman & Pilar Miranda and Dr. Alvaro Pena because they saw the potential to make wines that they thought would represent the land more honestly than the dominant commercial wineries. These true terroir wines come from various small plots along Chile’s coastal mountain range in the more southerly Maule region, and higher altitude sites in the central Maipo Valley. Today, the Garage Wine Co. owns about a third of these plots, but they have been happy working with the small farmers who own the rest, paying a fair price for their efforts in producing better grapes. While they source a number of varieties, including Pais (aka Mission) whose presence here goes back to the 1500s, they prefer to first emphasize the land where the vines grow.

These are also wines on the ‘natural’ side of the spectrum,, showing plenty of savory, earthy elements complementing the crisp fruit and floral characters: fermented with native yeast, the skins are manually punched down in small batches (sometimes first crushed by foot), then pressed in an old-fashioned basket press, age in older barrels to avoid covering the fruit, and add only small amounts of sulfites after fermentations are done. The traditions of farming here are mostly intact: they and their sources practice organic or sustainable farming without irrigation, involving local farmers and workers who know the vineyards well, and who often use horses to plow. Even the source of the recycled bottles, the paint rather than paper labeling, and wax sealing are all a result of finding local solutions for their needs since suppliers wouldn’t work with their small productions.

WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2017 San Juan de Pirque Vineyard will be the last vintage for this vineyard, as "the value of the land for weekend homes has vineyards in San Juan disappearing. Garage’s focus is in the Maule, and we have found where we want to work Cabernet Sauvignon down there, but we are a Chilean company and we began making Cabernet in Maipo..." So, there is a new Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo but sourced from the Isla De Maipo in 2018 (which I tasted next to this). This is spicy and creamy with some strict tannins with good ripeness,14.4% alcohol and mellow acidity. 8,660 bottles produced. It was bottled in February 2019. "
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