The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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Page 101 of 112

CHILE VIñA TAMAYA IN NORTHERN CHILE’S LAMARÍ VALLEY IS NOT ONLY PRODUCING SOME OF THE MOST ELEGANT WINES OUT OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE TODAY, BUT THEY’RE ALSO PRODUCING WORLD-CLASS PISCO, MAKING THIS ONE WINERY THAT’S GOT The Best of Both Worlds N by Rachel Burkons estled in the foothills of the Andes, Chile’s Limarí Valley is a fertile enclave that enjoys gentle breezes from the Pacific, a mere 20 kilometers away, and where pure, mineral-rich soils have borne a natural bounty. Taking advantage of this remarkable terroir is Viña Tamaya, a winery that’s as Chilean in heritage as they come—Tamaya means “high lookout” in the ancient indigenous Diaguita dialect—but is stepping outside American consumers’ preconceived notions of what a Chilean wine looks and tastes like. “Even though we are Chileans and proud to produce Chilean wines, the wines from Limarí are totally different from the mainstream of Chile’s Central Valley wines,” explains Winemaker José Pablo Martin. “Our wines are more structured and elegant, offering a different profile from [the rest of] Chile. All of this is because of our very unique and special climate and soil conditions.” A dry, cool-climate valley located at the entrance of Winemaker José Pablo Martin. the Atacama Desert (the driest in the world), the Limarí Valley may have given Tamaya a step up in terms of terroir, but great grapes are put to use in more than just the standard wine-ways: Tamaya also produces a Gran Pisco made from Moscatel Rosada and Moscatel de Alejandría varieties. “In order to produce pisco, you need to produce white wine first, and this area has been planted and producing grapes and wines for pisco for a long time,” explains Martin. Having already achieved success producing pisco, former winemaker Carlos Andrade had an epiphany in the early ’90s that would change the face and focus of Tamaya: “He thought that if this area is good for white wines [used for] pisco, why not try other varieties of fine wine?” Thus, the birth of fine wine production began in the Limarí Valley, and since then, Tamaya has thrived with roots firmly planted in the worlds of both wine and pisco. “As a thank you to the valley, we decided to produce the best premium pisco ever made in Chile,” says Martin, whose grand- father was also a winemaker in Chile. But Martin has a larger audience in mind for the winery’s wine portfolio. “Our aim is to keep improving and growing in terms of quality more than quantity,” he says. “We provide a new, fresh and exciting proposal from Chilean wines, and that’s part of our major task—to help Chile improve and position itself as a worldwide premium producer in all price ranges, especially in the upper tier.” Viña Tamaya is imported by Eco Valley. Tamaya Pisco represents Chilean pisco at its best. Tamaya’s version of Carménère, Chile’s signature wine. september 2010 / the tasting panel / 101

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