Garage Wine Co.

Canadian ex-ski coach, Derek Mossmann Knapp, is the enfant terrible of the Chilean wine scene. His Garage Wine Co. is the polar opposite to the big, established companies that dominate the Chilean market. Everything is done by hand; from ploughing the old vines to painting the labels. He is David to the big brands’ Goliath.

His travels led to the discovery of what Derek calls “wild, untamed, uncared for” vines, many of them damaged by Chile’s 2010 earthquake.

Derek has spent the last two years working with local farmers, encouraging them to value their old Carignan vines and helping them to improve their vineyards. Planting densities have been increased, vines have been pruned to encourage quality not quantity, and many old vineyards have been saved. The region’s best terroirs have been identified through exhaustive tastings and Carignan grafted onto old Pais vines to provide exciting fruit for future vintages.

Despite the challenges of the earthquake ravaged vintage, Derek has managed to release his first Maule Carignan under the Garage Wine Company label.

Quantities are minuscule. The wine is made in tiny vats; old sparkling wine bottles are reused and filled by hand.

The ‘labels’ are painted on. The juice inside is simply delicious. An incredible pot pourri perfume jumps out of the glass – violets, dried roses, damson jam.

The palate is pure and focused with lovely depth of sweet purple fruit and very ripe tannins. As the flavours rumble on, it hints at a darker Dr Jekyll side to the fruit. The finish is a return to the light: fresh, bracing, bright and mouthwatering.

It is an extraordinary wine that has resulted from one man’s incredible passion for a forgotten corner of Chile’s wine country.
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