Our Spanish/South American buyer Joe Manekin gathered us all into the bar this week to introduce us to Bodegas Re: our latest direct import producer from Chile. With properties in the Casablanca Valley and the Maule Valley, Bodegas Re is a family-owned estate that honors a long tradition of traditional farming and viticultural practices, today being run by Pablo Morandé and his sons. What stands out about the wines of Bodegas Re, however, is the unique vinification of red varietals as if they were white, and their subsequent blending of these wines with other white varietals. Imagine picking red pinot noir grapes, but then pressing the juice out of them before the skins have a chance to color the liquid red. Then fermenting that "white" pinot noir juice and combining it with wines from other aromatic white varietals. We were all incredibly intrigued!
Take the "Chardonnoir", for example—a pinot noir that's vinified like a white wine, then blended with traditionally-vinified chardonnay. The result is almost like Champagne without the bubbles, with an oxidative style and plenty of tart acidity to balance out the richness. It's somewhere in between still sparkler and cold-climate cider—incredibly refreshing and intriguing. The "Pinotel" was another big winner—again using pinot noir in conjunction with the aromatic moscatel to create a racy, austere wine with plenty of heft. We were all caught off guard by the rather revolutionary style. The flavors were crisp and refreshing, but with richness and depth. It was all quite stunning.
As part of the winemaking, Pablo uses standard 600 liter French oak barrels, as well as larger Italian made "botti" to mature his wines. For fermentation, he uses Chilean "tinajas" made of concrete and clay, traditionally part of the local practice. Joe toured the estate earlier this year before making the deal to bring Bodegas Re in on behalf of K&L.
As far as what's available, you can check out the full list of Bodegas Re wines below:
2012 Bodegas Re "Chardonnoir" Single Vineyard Casablanca Valley $34.99 - Made in an oxidative and austere style, imagine all the crisp flavors and richness of a blanc de noir Champagne, but without the bubbles!
2014 Bodegas Re "Pinotel - Family Vineyard" Rosé Casablanca Valley - Truly the stunner of the bunch, racy acidity and richness from the pinot noir accent the aromatic moscatel fruit.
2014 Bodegas Re "Recoleccion" Maule Valley (500ml) $13.99 - Tart blackberry fruit, mixes with flavors of violets and dried herbs. Chile's version of a bistro wine. Quite enticing (served in 500ml bottles).
2013 Bodegas Re "Syragnan" Maule Valley $29.99 - The deep, concentrated flavors of syrah combine with the unctuous, full-boded fruit of carignan. Juicy and weighty on the palate. Lovely!
2009 Bodegas Re "Cabergnan" Maule Valley $39.99 - A marriage of cabernet sauvignon and carignan, the herbaceousness of the cabernet mixes with the sweet carignan fruit to create almost a eucalyptus note, reminiscent of Australian shiraz, but with more depth.