Viña Casa Marin featured in Diario El Mercurio​!

 
Diario El Mercurio​, Chile’s most famous newspaper has featured Viña Casa Marin​! Check out the article below, written by Chile’s most well respected wine writer Patricio Tapia​!
 
Lo Abarca:
The Terroir that is the most misunderstood from the Chilean wines.
 
The vineyards that surround this small
village of the Firth Region produces
some of the wines with more character
in Chile, however, there are few who
have dared to cultivate here.
 
There is a saying in the viticulture world that many times
is true, and it goes like this; “The best wines come from
the most difficult places”. And this is correct on account
of some dissimilar examples like; the unimaginable
slopes of the Mosel River in Germany, as well as the
extreme climate of Douro, Portugal. There are many cases
of fantastic wines that began from complicated
conditions.
 
In Chile, the best example comes from Lo Abarca, a small
village from the San Antonio valley that is close to the
ocean, where it is cloudy, cold, windy and surrounded by
hills with very steep slopes. All these conditions make the
ripening of the grapes a challenge compared to its
neighbours of Leyda and Casablanca, where everything
seems much simpler. However for being part of the San
Antonio valley, Lo Abarca is the least exploited of the
zones of this thriving place, that has become popular
since a decade ago, populated with different vineyards
that are owned by pioneers as well as larger wineries that
have seen the possibility to develop commercially
successful wines, especially in respectable quantities in
order to make a profit. However, in Lo Abarca, there is
hardly any. For seventeen years there has only been one
producer, Casa Marín.
 
What is more is that Casa Marin’s wines are
extraordinary, especially their Sauvignon Blanc, which is
known for being one with most character in the world,
and this is not an exaggeration. The influence of the area
in Lo Abarca is such that the flavours obtained there go
beyond a mere varietal character; it exceeds the grapes
that they were made from. Its depth, salinity,
voluptuousness and its acidity that is as sharp as a razor,
are obtained here therefore it does not matter if it is a
Riesling, a Gewurztraminer or a Sauvignon, they all have
it. Thus, why is Lo Abarca not filled with vineyards?
 
When María Luz Marin planted the first
vines in Lo Abarca, her fellow
winemakers looked down at her with
scepticism, trusting little in what she
could grow here.
 
As a matter of fact, this is
nothing new in the
Chilean scene. Since,
twenty years ago Pablo
Morandé was also seen
with the same scepticism
when he planted the first
vines in Casablanca, a
place that was said that
was too cold.
Yet, none of the bad
omens were fulfilled
neither with the Marin
nor Morandé. However in
Casablanca nowadays,
there are more than five
thousand hectares
planted, meanwhile in Lo
Abarca there are just
forty.
 
To Maria Luz Marin there are three main reasons why
there are no other vineyards in Lo Abarca. To begin
with, there is the lack of water. Secondly, the conditions
are so extreme that what is obtained is very little wine
that has to be sold at a higher price. And finally the
topography of Lo Abarca, since here there is not a field
of thirty hectares available to be planted and this is the
minimum needed for a profitable vineyard. In addition,
the mechanisation of the work for these slopes is
impossible.
 
For Rafael Urrejola, Undurraga’s oenologist, this
challenge pleased him. Hence he convinced María Luz
Marín to sell him grapes from which he in 2008 started
making his Sauvignon Blanc Lo Abarca, within the TH
line. He said that he believes that this is one of those
places developed by people who are really passionate
about the subject, that they coincide with the difficult
road, where for many others, that small differentiation
with other places of more easy production is not
relevant or just not worth the efforts. Yet, those who
see in these little details a huge differentiation, in the
sense for the status of the wines, believe it is worth it.
Consequently TH Lo Abarca is another vital Sauvignon,
although maybe, fresher and lighter it does share that
minerality, texture, and sharp acidity as those of Casa
Marin.
 
However, Lo Abarca is well known for its romaine
lettuces and, among the gastronomes, for the pork ribs
from “El Sauce” restaurant, yet for its wines, very little
can be said. The excellent white wines of Casa Marín
are hardly known. Therefore, I believe there should be
another crazy person out there who would dare take a
chance here in Lo Abarca.
 
By: Patricio Tapia
 
July 2017

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