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Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this profile of an excellent new addition to the Bowler book:
Pisador is a new project from Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa and her good friend Nicola Massa. Elena's connection to Chile is longstanding: her mother has been living here for more than twenty years. In the late 90's, she'd purchased a property with an old, beautiful cellar called Fundo Tomenelo in the south of the Maule Valley. During a 2015 holiday trip, Elena had the chance to visit some of the amazing terroirs and very old vineyards between the Maule and Bío Bío valleys.
Both valleys are planted with thousands of hectares of 100 to 300 year old un-grafted plants, an amazing and unique heritage. Soon after her trip Elena reached out to Nicola Massa, a very good friend in the wine business for many years, with the idea of making a wine with the País variety. País is the oldest variety imported in Chile, dating back the to the middle 1500's. Nicola was excited and honored by Elena’s proposal, and the two quickly agreed to start the project.
With the help of Louis-Antoine Luyt, Nicola spent 2015 in the Maule valley, visiting old producers and vineyards to understand the way they work. In 2016, he selected four hectares of 100+ year old, un-grafted, un-irrigated, bush-trained vines planted on granitic soils. An old lagar, the traditional open-top wood vat used for fermentation, was purchased along with some old barrels. A zaranda, the typical wood de-stemmer worked by hand, was also built.
Unlike the juicy, easy-drinking Pipeño style that has recently been regaining popularity, Nicola and Elena's goal was to make a structured wine with this variety. They selected wonderful grapes, de-stemmed them by hand and pressed them by foot (pisar translates to foot-trodden, hence the name Pisador.) Spontaneous fermentation and a long maceration took place, with no filtration, no added sulfites, just fruit! 3300 bottles were produced in 2016. A second lagar was purchased for the 2017 harvest, and production was slightly increased.