Morandé One to One País 2015
Morandé One to One old vines País 2015, 12.5%, Chile
(£6.99 when you buy 6+ bottles or £8.99 per single bottle, Majestic)
Sometimes wine can be just a bit too serious. That’s why we all need a good healthy dose of a wine like this Morandé old vines País sometimes to remind us just how joyful, fun, uplifting and easy wine can and should be.
It certainly had this effect in the Saturday Kitchen studio when I paired it with Tom Kitchin’s beautiful venison tartare with hazelnut mayo and apple. ‘Mmmmm’ intoned show host Michel Roux Jr, describing it as, ‘light, fruity, energetic – Peter’s definitely done it again’. ‘My kind of red: absolutely delicious’ enthused show guest Rachel Riley. ‘Peter’s excelled himself today,’ said Tom, ‘fantastic, very happy’. Adam added, ‘It’s got that Gamay, Morgon, southern Burgundy feel: really like it.’
País is indeed like Chile’s answer to Beaujolais. It’s fun, fruity and seriously easy drinking. Until recently, this historic variety, which was originally brought to South America with the European influx in the mid 16th century (and thought to be the same as Listán Prieto), was dismissed as second rate and incapable of producing fine wine. Much of it was made into semi-fermented hooch known locally as chicha. But a new wave of Chilean winemakers is resurrecting País, much of it produced from old vines grown in the south of Chile, making it in a fresh, upfront and uncomplicated style similar to Beaujolais but with perhaps more roundness and succulence.
It made a great match for Tom’s venison tartare, which is pretty subtle in flavour. So much so that I originally thought a white would work best – and indeed the nutty Errázuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay made a really good pairing, with the fresh acidity cutting through the meat and the toasty flavours bringing to mind a side order of chips, which always go down well with tartare.
But this light red had the juicy red fruit and light tannin that worked perfectly to partner the beautiful venison, without overwhelming it in any way. It also allowed the mouth-coating textures of the mayo and meat to shine. Yum!
(7/10, Peter, Dec 2016)