Frenchman Louis-Antoine Luyt first went to Chile in 1998 to hone his Spanish while on break from his enology studies in Burgundy. To his outsider’s eyes the 200 - 400 year old País (Mission) vines were marvels, and if the traditional, rustic wine made with them, called “Pipeño”, lacked a little polish, that was part of the charm. When he investigated the history of these vines and the vinification methods he realized, contrary to the accepted wisdom in Chile, that with a little tweaking, País could make distinctive, terroir-driven natural wines of quality as well as character. At first he made his own version using the traditional methods: foot-stomping the clusters, then dumping the stemmy pulp onto zarandas, latticed bamboo, to destem and then fermenting in open-topped lagars, wide concrete basins, and aged for a short time in large Raulí (an indigenous tree) casks called pipas, hence the name of the wine. The more he tasted Pipeños from different places, however, the more he realized how distinctive each region’s wine was, so he decided to partner with farmers from different regions, have them agree to make the wines using their traditional methods and he would take care of the bottling and marketing of the wines. This wine comes from the area around the city of Laja in the Bío Bío Valley, in Southern Chile. This is a light-colored, fruity, spicy, refreshing wine that pairs well with grilled meats. See the Ampelia note about the joys of the 1L bottle.