Our second winery visit was Viña Casa Marin, in the neighboring San Antonio Vally (just south of Santiago), founded in 2000 by owner/winemaker Maria Luz Marin. Against the advice of her colleagues and friends, Ms. Marin chose Lo Abarca, surrounded by steep hills in the coastal valley, as the site for her winery. With a degree in agronomy and winemaking from the University of Chile, María Luz is the first female Chilean winemaker and winery owner. Cutting edge, she successfully created the first cool-climate winery in all of the South America and the Pacific Coast. Currently the closest to the ocean of all Chile’s vineyards, Casa Marin is planted with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Gewurtztraminer, and Riesling. Known for her “daring and innovative” techniques, Ms. Marin’s Cipreses Sauvignon Blanc 2014 took the gold medal for the fourth year in a row at Concours Mondial du Sauvignon 2015.
“Viña Casa Marín is located in a privileged and unique terroir but one that can seem adverse. The town of Lo Abarca is just 4 kms. from the Pacific Ocean and is covered by a constant fog during the summer and winter months. It’s also a very windy area with cold temperatures during the grape growth and ripening period. However, these conditions make the vines produced a superior quality fruit than other valleys with higher temperatures and with massive production. The harvests are not abundant, but the plants that grow here are strong with healthy grapes and greater flavor and mineral concentration that add unique qualities and character to the wines.
“According to geologists, this area was once part of the ocean which is why there have been high levels of calcium and minerals (each adds to the grapes) found in excavations the winery has done. In fact this is where the new plant name “tierras blancas” (white soil) came from because of its color and the abundant presence of calcium carbonate. Casa Marín’s terroir is made up of 50 hectares of hills and valleys, of which 10 newly planted.” — http://www.casamarin.cl
After our tour of Viña Casa Marin and a wine tasting, we were joined by winemaker Ms. Marin for a delicious luncheon with her wines at the winery’s “Cipreses” vino bar.
The salmon tartar was excellent and well paired with the Sauvignon Gris, a varietal that we had not previously tasted in the USA. The winemaker described the wine: “Round and robust, not a delicate wine but a very complex one. Elegant touches of French oak offset by green pepper and cantaloupe flavors. Fabulously long, clean and fresh to the end.”
“Sauvignon Gris is pink color wine grape that is a clonal mutation of Sauvignon Blanc. The grape is primarily found in Bordeaux and Chile, where it was imported with Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Vert cuttings. The grape produces less aromatic wines and is often use for blending.” — Wikipoedia