Como Sur | South American Gastronomy

All posts tagged #WineWednesday

Wine Wednesday: Here’s A Video Explaining Malbec And Its Origins (ES)

By Patrick Hieger

[Wines of Argentina]

[Wines of Argentina]

It’s no secret that there’s a great deal more to wine than just some grape juice in a glass bottle.  Every grape has a colorful history, and many have a traveled a great deal to become the emblematic fruit of their country.  For Argentina, that grape is Malbec, much to France’s chagrin.  In this video as put together by Wines of Argentina, take a deeper look into the grape’s history, its travels, and how it came to be as important to Argentines as a fat piece of steak.  Salud!

Wine Wednesday: Warm Up With A Glass Of Chilean Navegado

By Patrick Hieger

[Foods From Chile]

[Foods From Chile]

As winter sets in in the lower half of South America and the cold permeates the walls of every building, steps must be taken to fight the frigid temperatures.  Since the majority of Chile isn’t outfitted with central or even efficient heating systems, alcohol is a great way to combat, and perhaps even forget about the cold.  If that alcohol is warm it’s even better.  Enter Chile’s Navegado, another in a long line of drinks made from mixing two of the best products to ever come from the country–wine and produce.  After a few sips, you’ll be thinking sunshine and sailing, not cold and miserable. 

[image: Como Sur]

Wine Wednesday: Could Tax Reform Cut Into Chile’s Wine Industry?

By Colin Bennett
Colin Bennett is the founder and owner of FoodyChile, a Santiago-based culinary-focused tour provider that gives insight into Chile’s growing gastronomy scene.  Originally from Iowa, he now resides in Santiago with his wife and young son.  When not giving tours, Colin takes advantage of the diverse landscape and wine regions that Chile has to offer.

[image: Como Sur]

[image: Como Sur]

It’s been just over a month since now President Michelle Bachelet took office, and a quick perusal through Chile’s newspapers, talking TV heads and radio shows will bring lots of talk about a widespread tax reform.  We won’t get into the politics of it, but one of the impacts of the proposed changes are increases in the taxes placed on wine sales in Chile, among other spirits. The wine industry association (Wines of Chile) president René Araneda, recently spoke with the country’s largest paper, El Mercurio, and sounded the four bell alarm.

His main concern is that by placing more taxes on Chile’s wine, the domestic market will be hurt. If you have not traveled to Chile, most vineyards in Chile produce almost exclusively for the export market. Something around 80% of Chile’s wine production is shipped abroad. Back here in Chile, a substantial portion of the population is not spending much on a bottle of wine. Hence a trip to your local corner store outside of the upscale neighborhoods in Santiago’s east side will render few options above CLP $6.000, and according to Araneda, 80% of wine sales in Chile sells at an average price of CLP $1.400 PER LITER. That amounts to just over $2.00 US  for a bottle.

What Wines of Chile is worried about is that not only will the government increase its basic tax it has on the bottle, it will add on another surcharge based on the alcohol content. In other words, stronger liquors will have even more tax than a light beer. And then another surcharge as well.  For wine, Araneda says the government is claiming the increase will be to a 24% tax instead of 18%, but he says that that is not accounting for the third surcharge, which according to the association’s calculations would mean an increase to a 42% tax. In terms of the final price of a bottle, Araneda says the average retail cost will increase by 20%, which considering that 80% of Chile is very sensitive to the price, such an increase will wreak havoc on sales. It could mean disaster for the wine industry, Araneda warns, saying that up to 70,000 jobs could be at risk.

We’ll take a step back and say, there is, of course, some serious politicking going on, and the idea behind the reform is to redistribute wealth in a nation with a serious equality issues. Will Chile’s industry collapse? Probably not. But wine making is a risky, time-consuming task, and adding uncertainty at home due to taxes, which has a growing taste for the fine wines that are produced but previously not sold here, will only make it riskier.

The argument that Araneda is making is that wine is not one of the more damaging, health-threatening liquors, and that it is extremely sensitive to the final price. Elasticity, or the fact that people will greatly increase their volume of consumption if the price is lower, means wine should not be treated the same as say, a whiskey.

This is unlikely to be the last time we’ll hear about this, but let’s just say we want more of Chile to be able to access more of the incredible wines being produced here. And hurting sales for the handful of small, quality winemakers is also taking away from what the wine scene could be here in Chile.

[image: Como Sur]

Wine Wednesday: Where To Wine Down Post–Ñam

By Colin Bennett
Colin Bennett is the founder and owner of FoodyChile, a Santiago-based culinary-focused tour provider that gives insight into Chile’s growing gastronomy scene.  Originally from Iowa, he now resides in Santiago with his wife and young son.  When not giving tours, Colin takes advantage of the diverse landscape and wine regions that Chile has to offer.

[image: Como Sur]

[image: Como Sur]

Ñam kicks off next week bringing with it a long list of presentations, chef demos & talks, tapas and much more, all in the GAM cultural center in Barrio Lastarria. If the show leaves you feeling inspired for a glass of wine following the day’s close, here are three nearby options to get into the feeling:

Bocanariz | José Victorino Lastarria 276
The obvious choice, and Santiago’s only true wine bar. There are plenty of bars with wine, but here it’s the main act. With more than 300 wines available by the bottle, some 35 by the glass, this place is all about selection. What’s even better is that you can order flights, three samples all centered around one theme. They have a selection of small, international dishes, but the wine is the standout here.

Gatopardo | José Victorino Lastarria N° 192
This is the option if you want to eat as well and are not looking for a flight. Serving Mediterranean dishes, Gatopardo is housed in an old Colonial style building and has been in Barrio Lastarria for more than 20 years–in other words, before the neighborhood became the culinary hub it is today.  They are also operating the incredible space across the street from GAM in the Universidad Catolica campus, called La Cava. A must see set refurbished brick cellar, but that still awaits the liquor license.

Santiago Wine Club | Rosal 386
So forget about the glass, go for a bottle and take it home or wherever else your path might take you. The Santiago Wine Club distributes and stocks a wide variety of producers, paying special attention to the independent winemakers and boutique vineyards.  It’s small, but packed with quality goods, offering also beer and a few artisan beers. Their sales floor is located in Barrio Lastarria, but they also distribute to your home.

[image: Como Sur]

Wine Wednesday: Terra Andina Gets A Makeover

By Colin Bennett
Colin Bennett is the founder and owner of FoodyChile, a Santiago-based culinary-focused tour provider that gives insight into Chile’s growing gastronomy scene.  Originally from Iowa, he now resides in Santiago with his wife and young son.  When not giving tours, Colin takes advantage of the diverse landscape and wine regions that Chile has to offer.

[photo: Yañez Giola Design]

[photo: Yañez Giola Design]

It’s best not to judge a book by its cover, but a nice label can make all the difference. That’s the lesson learned in the case of Terra Andina. There are plenty that would like to believe that a label and fierce, dynamic marketing shouldn’t be necessary for a good wine to seduce a loyal following.  However, with so many options, having something catchy that skillfully explains what the winemakers want their potential customers to understand is a must.

Just have a look at their first label in the photo above. It’s clear where it comes from, with a New World, from the shelf of a museum feel to it. An attempt at eloquence and tradition, that, in my humble opinion, didn’t connect with the wine. It did catch the ambition of the winemaker, which in its press material describes the product as “by combining New World fruit-forward voluptuousness with Old World balance and finesse”.  Still, something didn’t fit and it took the ranks as another wine looking for more fanfare than maybe it deserved.

In mid-2013 changes were made, though, and the vineyard, which is part of Santa Rita’s 80 million bottles a year empire, re-launched its wines, this time with a new theme of “Free-spirited by nature”.   This time around, the label (on the right) is playful and young, and hits on the head with what’s inside the bottle. It’s not a wine for a decanter– it’s a juicy, fill your glass to the brim and bring it to the BBQ sort of drink. Nothing to be ashamed of, and even with the change manages to capture the essence of its origin, as a sassy option from South America. “Wine has changed so change to the Wine”, is their slogan in Spanish and it works.

The new label comes with a strategy reinforcing both Chile’s internal market and the rest of Latin America while keeping in stride with traditional markets like the United States, and has caught the interest of design fanatics as well. The site Design and Design showcased it as its label of the day last July–not a small accomplishment, as the label designers, Argentine firm Yañez Giola Design, were one of 19,500 applicants from 5,000 designers in 180 countries.

[image: Como Sur]

Wine Wednesday: Chile’s Favorite Summer Wine Drinks

By Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett is the founder and owner of FoodyChile, a Santiago-based culinary-focused tour provider that gives insight into Chile’s growing gastronomy scene.  Originally from Iowa, he now resides in Santiago with his wife and young son.  When not giving tours, Colin takes advantage of the diverse landscape and wine regions that Chile has to offer.

[image: Como Sur]

[image: Como Sur]

Goodbye January, and welcome to February. In the Chilean capital that means a good portion of the country is at the beach or down south. No need to worry about traffic jams or packed metro rides.

Across Chile, it feels like vacation time. Very hard to be productive. And to fully enjoy it, you’ve gotta enjoy a drink. There are a number of traditional preparations that call for wine. Not your premium labels–save those for later. Generally these use a cheaper wine, and they must always be cold. These are not high end cocktails served on hotel terraces, but rather traditional drinks enjoyed in the country side.

1.  Borgoña:
This is a distant cousin to a Spanish sangria that satisfies Chile’s obsession with all things sweet. It calls for red wine, probably best from a box, sugar, and plenty of fresh strawberries. It must be served cold as can be. Some recipes call for it to be cut with water, plus a bit of lemon juice, and even vermouth.

2.  Ponche:
Another classic that is a sweet favorite. This one uses a white wine, also as cold as possible. Best use something that goes down smooth, like a cheap table Sauvignon Blanc. Take conserved peaches (you could do it with fresh as well but Chileans like the sweeter conserved fruit in its syrup), and add sugar.  Mix it with the wine and chill.

3.  Melon con vino:
January 15th is officially the “Day of Melon con Vino.”  It’s exactly what it sounds like–melon and white wine.  Also served as cold as possible. To make it, cut a small hole in a honey dew melon, hollow out the center, pour in the wine. Chill and drink it with a straw straight from the melon. Remember to finish the fruit afterwards.

[image: Foody Chile]

Wine (Grape) Wednesday: The Pisco Manifesto

By Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett is the founder and owner of FoodyChile, a Santiago-based culinary-focused tour provider that gives insight into Chile’s growing gastronomy scene.  Originally from Iowa, he now resides in Santiago with his wife and young son.  When not giving tours, Colin takes advantage of the diverse landscape and wine regions that Chile has to offer.

[image: Foody Chile]

[image: Foody Chile]

This week national press in Peru and Chile have been abuzz with the recent decision from the Hague which has shifted the maritime borders between the two countries. I won’t dive into the details, but basically after around eight years of deliberations, the court shifted the sea border, but not as much as Peru wanted. In Chile, it seemed like a defeat, but it wasn’t really a victory for Peru either.
The best analysis? Something I came across on Facebook: The fish will now have to decide whether they want to die in a Ceviche with a Peruvian sour or on the grill with some Chilean wine. In the end, the ocean is for the fish.

However, it offers a moment to look at Chile and Peru’s other long standing dispute: Pisco. Who came up with it first? It might not be wine, but it’s a distant cousin, distilled from grapes.  In December, a group of Chilean academics addressed the dispute, putting something of an olive leaf out and supporting the concept that Pisco, in its roots, is a distilled liquor that came about during the Spanish Colonial era.  Have a read for yourself.

The manifesto was first published on the blog of Chilean food critic Carlos Reyes, unocome.cl:

Due to the confusions surrounding the historical facts of Pisco, we want to, as members of the national academic community, clarify the following:
The aguardiente known has Pisco had its origins in the Colonial period, precisely in the 17th century, which has been amply demonstrated in Chilean and Peruvian history.
The main commercial objective of Pisco was to satisfy the demand for booze in Potosi, the main center of mining production in South America at this time.
The extraordinary prosperity of Potosi was a strong stimulus for food and beverage production in the entire region.
In this context, producers in the south of Peru and the north of Chile, worked to put in place an important aguardiente industry destined for this market.
The producers of Southern Peru shipped their stock of aguardiente from the Port of Pisco, 128 kilometers from the port of Callao, and from there it traveled to the port of Arica, where it was loaded on mules to continue on to Potosi.
Producers in the north of Chile used two routes: one option was to ship from the Coquimbo port, and arrive at the port of Arica to go by land to Potosi, the other alternative was to perform the entire journey by land, crossing the cordillera in the San Francisco or Agua Negra passes, and then continue on the road that passed through the cities of Catamarca, Tucuman, Salta, Jujuy and then on to Potosi.
The grape growing zones of the south of Peru and north of Chile acted as one geo-economic family, and producers had long ties between them, both family, economic and political. It was a single sociocultural unit, separated by the Atacama Desert, but integrated by many social ties. This unity facilitated the elaboration of the same product, destined for the same market.
A considerable consolidation in the industry was the production of alambiques or copper stills, led by the settlement of Coquimbo. In this area, numerous copper stills were then commercialized and transported throughout the entire region.
The leadership in Chile in the production of copper stills is documented in various documents starting in 1586. While the oldest still in Peru dates back to 1823.
The dynamic of the Port of Pisco contributed that, due to its uses and customs, the name of the port was associated with the product. In the Potosí market it was customary to call the aguardiente, Pisco. It was a general name used to describe all products from the production zone.
With the passing of time the producers of the two bands of the Atacama Desert, that is the north of Chile and south of Peru, consolidated the production of aguardiente in colonial period, calling it Pisco.
Following this, Peru started to partially abandon its industry. It introduced sugar cane and started to distill spirits with this product. Adding to this was the effect of the white gold fever: the first industrial revolution, which pushed the English to buy cotton at high prices, many Peruvians opted to prioritize the production of cotton and lost interest in vineyards. In addition there were the effects of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, which weakened the Peruvian industry.
While Pisco declined in Peru, in Chile it stayed alive. The attempts to introduce sugar cane failed. This situation contributed to keeping Pisco alive. Chile continued with grape growing in general, and the tradition of aguardiente in particular. As a result, in 1931, the President of Chile Carlos Ibánez del Campo defined the Designation of Origen of Pisco.
In the second half of the 20th century, Peru regained its interest for the aguardiente, little by little it began to mobilize its productive forces and in 1991, produced its own limits of the Designation of Origen of Pisco.
Currently, the two DO of Piscos coexist, one in Chile, one in Peru, but in reality it is one DO born in the colonial era.
Pisco predates the existence of the two states. Pisco emerged two centuries before the Republic of Chile and the Republic of Peru.
Pisco is a collective work, constructed in a community and cooperative effort and would not exist if it were not for the work of grape growers in the south of Peru and the north of Chile.
Pisco also shows the valuable results that Chilean and Peruvians working together.
These facts must be considered in our current era, just when both countries have discovered the convenience of working together and have started designing a project to encourage integration.
Unfortunately the other vision that rules the relations between Chile and Peru is distorted by the over visualization of the War of the Pacific, these three years, which has overruled three centuries of cooperative work between Chileans and Peruvians, which has generated many fruits, among them Pisco.
We call on the governments of Peru and Chile to advance in a change of the vision of the other, starting with a new look at history, that finds better balance and puts focus on the solidarity and integration that has occurred.
Therefore, Pisco merges as a high value, symbolic emblem because it is a Denomination of Origen built from the ancestral brotherhood between both people.

Author:
Pablo Lacoste, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Signing Academics:
Hernán Cortés, Universidad de La Serena
Leonardo León S., Universidad de Chile
Leonardo Jeffs C., Universidad de Valparaíso
José del Pozo, Universidad de Quebec
Gonzalo Rojas A., Universidad de Chile
Amalia Castro S., Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez
Félix Briones, Universidad del Bio Bio
Diego Jiménez C., Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Fernando Mujica, Escuela de Sommeliers de Chile
Paulette Aguilera, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Raúl Sánchez A., Universidad Autónoma de Chile
Gonzalo Olmedo E., Museo O’Higginiano y de Bellas Artes de Talca.
José Jeffs, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Aldo Garrido, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Carolina Polanco, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Philippo Pszczolkowski, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Josefa Balanda B., Escuela de Sommeliers de Chile
Rodrigo Aravena A., Biblioteca Nacional de Chile

[image: Como Sur]

Wine Wednesday: Chile’s San Antonio Valley Has A New Wine Bar

By Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett is the founder and owner of FoodyChile, a Santiago-based culinary-focused tour provider that gives insight into Chile’s growing gastronomy scene.  Originally from Iowa, he now resides in Santiago with his wife and young son.  When not giving tours, Colin takes advantage of the diverse landscape and wine regions that Chile has to offer.

In Chile’s San Antonio Valley you can almost smell the salty Pacific air and hear the seagulls. As a valley, it’s a newer cousin of the Casablanca Valley just next door. While the list of wineries is relatively small, there is no lack of quality. Now in Casa Marin’s vineyard, the valley has a new wine bar to enjoy award winning wines paired with the creations of their chef Gerardo Valenzuela.

[photo: Colin Bennett]

[photo: Colin Bennett]


Vinobar Cipreses is the latest addition to Casa Marin’s property. They’ve already got a boutique hotel and interactive set of tours available for the curious wine lover. The vineyard lies in the photogenic town of Lo Abarca, about 90 minutes from the Chilean capital of Santiago.

[photo: Colin Bennett]

[photo: Colin Bennett]


On the menu are locally inspired dishes that use the region’s main gastronomical asset: seafood. It’s the perfect companion to Casa Marin’s premium whites, like its Sauvignon Gris 2013, which was named by Wines of Chile as the best “super premium” white wine of 2013 in their annual awards last year.  The wine bar itself is lined with decorations not untypical to other wine bars and the Chilean countryside: ceramic mosaics, wine barrels and more, but with work from Isla de Negra based artist Bansuri Huenchiñir.

[photo: Colin Bennett]

[photo: Colin Bennett]


Want to visit? Make sure you have a reservation first–they don’t accept walk ins.  Casa Marín is located at Camino Lo Abarca S/N. Cartagena, V Región.  They can be reached at (09) 8777 6784 or by email at hospitality@casamarin.com.