Crossing the Equator 2023 – Perswijn.
On Monday the 3rd of April we attended the Crossing the Equator event, organized by Dutch wine magazine Perswijn. A new event that brought together some of the best wine regions in the Southern hemisphere.
In the Saint Olof’s Chapel in Amsterdam 23 importers had brought along more than five hundred wines. Wines from Argentina, Chili, South-Africa, Australia and New-Zealand were present. Pro Chili Netherlands established a special Mezzine Chile pavilion where Chilean winemakers presented their wines.
Seminar Ñuble’s authentic wines from the Itata valley
As part of the event we attended a seminar about the Chilean Itata Valley presented by Lars Daniels (MV). Itata Valley is part of the Chilean region Ñuble. Itata is located 400 kilometres south-southwest of Santiago. It is a rural and traditional area, far away from the major Chilean wine industry. The climate in Itata is Mediterranean with growing season temperatures between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius and a relative high precipitation (1000 mm). Close to the ocean and in the coastal mountains temperatures it is much cooler than in the valley between the coastal mountains and the Andes. Vineyards close to the Andes benefit from night-time cooling effects.
Viticulture in Itata goes all the way back to the 16th century. Grapes were brought to Itata by conquistadores, missionaries and Jesuits. Main grapes of Itata are:
- Moscatel de Alejandria
- Torrontel (Torrontés)
- Corinto (Chassalas)
Itata is holding an above-average number of old vines. Old Vines are true Chilian viticultural heritage: they enrich Chilian wine spectrum and are worth protecting. Old vines do have a good balance of above ground and underground growth. The root system is well developed a finely branched, making the vines less sensitive to stress. Finally, old vines do have less yield, leading to more natural concentration in the grapes. Good old vines produce wines of higher natural complexity.
We tasted a wide selection of various authentic Itata wines, selected by Lars Daniels (MV).
Pino Román – Chasselas 2021
Old Chasselas vines. Whole bunch pressing, spontaneous fermentation, little skin contact and aging old 300L oak barrels. Funky, herbal, lean, high acidity and some grippy tannins.
- Importer: N/A
- DWA score: 87/100 (HJ)
A Los Viñateros Bravos – Piel de Arcilla 2021
Moscatel de Alejandria from old vines, spontaneous fermentation on skins in tinajas (clay amphora) and aging on the lees for 1 year. Floral, warm herbaceous, eucalyptus, nettle, mint, earl grey, honey and orange peel. Pronounced grapiness, compact structure, medium acidity, some filling and a medium long-lasting saline aftertaste.
- Importer: N/A
- DWA score: 88/100 (HJ)
Ana María Cumsille – Pellines Mezcla Blanca 2021
Moscatel (50%), Semillon (32%) and Torontel (18%). Spontaneous fermentation, 8 months skin contact, 2 years aging in old barrels before blending and 3 more years after blending. Interesting well-made wine. Floral, green, zesty and slightly salty. Waxy film around a grippy core and fascinating smashing acids, resulting in a long-lasting aftertaste.
- Importer: N/A
- DWA score: 92/100 (HJ)
Longavi – GLUP! Cincault 2021
Cinsault, spontaneous fermentation, 30% whole bunches, 6 months aging in foudres. Candy-like succulent fruit, approachable temping dry juice and sufficient supporting structure.
- Importer: Vinites
- DWA score: 89/100 (HJ)
ONVI WINES – Ocatavo Pasajero Carignan 2020
Carignan from more than 60 years old vines. Open lagar, 20% whole bunch, spontaneous fermentation, MLF and 18 months aging in French oak barrels. Approachable tasty wine. Ripe purple and dark fruits, herbal and pronounced French oak. Lean, fresh dark fruits, spicy, meaty structure and uplifting acidity.
- Importer: N/A
- DWA score: 92/100 (HJ)
De Martino – Les Olvidadas 2020
País (80%) en Fransisco (20%) from vines planted in 1905. Spontaneous fermentation in open top bins, aging in used oak barrels for 12 months. Floral, red fruits, rosehip, slightly rustic and earthy. Transparent floral juice with a refined texture.
- Importer: Henri Bloem
- DWA score: 92/100 (HJ)
Pedro Parra y Familia – Trane 2021
Single vineyard Cinsault from decomposed granite soils. Spontaneous fermentation and aging in concrete, 30% whole bunches and aging in 1.500-liter oak vats for 11 months. Floral, red fruits like cherry and a rustic and smoky edge. Concentrated juice, chalky grip, fine tannins and delicate freshness.
- Importer: Pallas Wines
- DWA score: 93/100 (HJ)
Crossing the Equator – The Wine Show
During the wine show we focussed on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from cool and moderate climates. In general, the quality of all of these wine ranges from very good to outstanding. Hereafter we are highlighting some of the wines that stood out.
The following selection consists of Chardonnay wines:
Kershaw – Clonal Selection Chardonnay 2021
Cool climate Chardonnay from Elgin, South-Africa. Nice ripe yellow and white fruits and a touch of vanilla. Harmonious and comfortable start with restrained ripe white and yellow fruits, a pungent spicy backbone and a pleasant touch of vanilla, leading into an aromatic and mineral long-lasting aftertaste.
Irrewarra – By Farr Chardonnay 2021
Pure and elegant expression of Chardonnay from South- Australian wine region Victoria made by talented winemaker Nick Farr. Pure and concentrated fruits accompanied by tingling acids and a long aftertaste with velvet fruits and a touch of vanilla. Concentrated, well-balanced, elegant and long-lasting: this really is an outstanding wine.
Penfolds – Bin 311 Chardonnay 2020
Blend of Chardonnay grapes from Adelaide Hills, Tumbarumba and Tasmania by Australian best know winemaker Penfolds. Classic new world style chardonnay with pronounced barrel aging and ripe fruit aromas. In the mouth remarkable fresh and lively. Fresh, herbaceous and comfortable drinking.
Cap Maritime – Chardonnay 2020
Top-notch Chardonnay from South-African Hemel and Aarde Valley by Boekenhoutskloof’s Cap Maritime. Refined nose with citrus fruit, fresh stone fruit, ripe yellow fruit and fine herbal tones like chervil and fennel. Wonderful balance between fraîcheur and satisfying ripens. Multi-layered outstanding wine with a long-lasting aftertaste.
Paul Clüver – Estate Chardonnay 2019
Elgin estate wine by South African top producer Paul Clüver. Pronounced wood and malolactic aromas along with ripe fruits. This follows trough into the palate, causing flavours like rich peach, vanilla and cream, accompanied by a focussed acidy. Well-made comfortable drinking wine with an excellent price ratio.
Dalrymple – Cave Block Chardonnay 2017
Chardonnay from Pipers Valley, north Tasmania. Lush and opulent, ripe yellow fruit kept upright by vivid acids and a long-lasting aftertaste with impressions of garden herbs.
The following selection consists of Pinot Noir wines:
Kershaw – Clonal Selection Pinot Noir 2019
Cool climate Pinot Noir from Elgin, South-Africa. In the nose a combination of ripe fruits and herbal, smoky aromas caused by the 11 months aging on French barrels. In the mouth a pronounced ripeness of the fruit, but nevertheless a tempting clean and sophisticated juiciness and a spicy tannin structure.
Crystallum – Peter Max Pinot Noir 2021
Pinot Noir from five vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Delightful ripe red fruit, cherries, redcurrant, grenadine and dill. Concentrated fruit, round almost creamy mouthfeel and a persistent crystal-clear acidity and a mineral long-lasting aftertaste. Well-balanced wine.
By Farr – Farrside Pinot Noir 2018
Outstanding benchmark Pinot Noir from Geelong, Australia. Masculine expression of Pinot Noir. Generous, herbaceous, fleshy and well-structured. Delicate and balanced fruit, exciting vegetal edge, salivating acids and a very long-lasting aftertaste.
Paul Clüver – Estate Pinot Noir 2020
Elgin estate wine by South African Paul Clüver. Expressive and smoky. Grenadine, red berries and strawberry jam. Generous and soft, ripe tannin structure and a fresh nutty and mineral aftertaste.
Bodega Otronia – Pinot Noir ’45 Rugientes’ 2018
Serious and style Pinot Noir from Patagonia. Subtle layers of fresh red fruits and earthy flavours around an intense and tight mineral backbone. Grippy tannins and a fresh red fruit dominated long lasting aftertaste.
Creation – Pinot Noir ‘Creation Estate’ 2022
Fruit dominated elegant Pinot Noir from Hemel-en-Aarde-Ridge. Although the wine expresses some red fruit like red berries, raspberry and rosehip, this Creation Estate Pinot Noir is dominated by dark fruit like plums, bramble and blackcurrant. The ripe and wealthy fruits are worn by elegant acids and a nice bitter structure.
We thoroughly enjoyed Crossing the Equator. Perswijn did a great job in setting up this event and the importers present brought a nice selection of wines that fit right in the theme. Wine countries from the Southern hemisphere were mostly known for their volume production and budget wine, but these days are far gone. Countries like South Africa, Australia but also Argentina and Chile have shown us that they can level with the best in the Old World.
With new technologies in the vineyard, including soil research and new viticulture techniques they massively improved the quality of their wines and after learning from the best they are now also focussing more and more on the creation of terroir driven wines. Wines with a unique identity and pure character.
We are happy that these fine examples are getting more and more attention and a stage for a larger audience and would like to thank Perswijn for the excellent organization and their effort in bringing together these wine regions and wineries.
This event was covered by our own Hermen Jansen and Niels Aarts.