by Fred McMillin
for May 7, 1998
Sergio Is On the Go
It was necessary to ford the fast-running Maipo River four times, with water up to the axels threatening to float our vehicle. We were on the dirt road to the new Tarapaca winery in the Isla [island] de Maipo southwest of Santiago. The mountains came straight down to the valley floor; vines seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see, stopping abruptly where the mountains began.
At the winery, gleaming new stainless steel fermenting tanks reach from floor to ceiling. The first crush in the new facilities was only a year ago. Now juice from the grapes from the 1,200 acres of vines is aging in 2,000 oak barrels, mostly French. The latest techniques have been used to produce the creamy, smoky, rich 1996 Tarapaca Reserva Chardonnay.
...Terry Robarts, March 1997 "Wine Enthusiast"
"Various wine authorities have written that Chile may have the best winegrowing potential outside of France...Chile's first vines were planted near the capital, Santiago, in the Maipo [my-poh] Valley. The vine still does best there, and the wines prove it."
...Harm de Blij, "Wine Regions of the Southern Hemisphere"
Now who is having all the fun of using the best equipment in his county's best wine district to create a Reserva Chardonnay? Well...
a) He's only one of two Chileans to ever be honored for his enology contributions by the Confrerie de St. Emilion, founded 900 A.D. in Bordeaux.
b) He's a leading international wine judge, regularly on panels in France, Canada, Belgium, U.S.A., etc.
c) He holds degrees in agronomy and enology from institutions in both Chile and France.
His name is Sergio Correa. His experience with Maipo winegrowing goes back two decades "when there were only four or five of us" fully trained in both the vineyard and the winery. His duties included selecting the site for planting the Chardonnay. "I knew it would do better in one particular area, the first to be cooled by the maritime winds." and here's the best news of all. For a very modest sum you can taste how Sergio is doing. His 1997 Vina Tarapaca (TAR-uh-PACK-uh) Reserva Chardonnay is only $10. If you can't find it, phone Allison Lane Simpson, (707) 963-8989.
For more, see the Dec. 19,1997 WineDay, "Hip, Hip, Hurrah for Terapaca."
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