Maurico Gonzalez is making wine in Yumbel which is technically the heart of the D.O. Bio Bio Valley. Mauricio is part of the Asociación de Productores de Vino Campesino de Chile, organized by natural wine advocate and sommelier Macarena Lladser. Their group of four, all practice within the wine regions inside of the Secano Interior. They dry farm their organic land and mostly old ungrafted vines. Devoted to low intervention winemaking they are committed to revitalizing the local heritage of the pipeño, a refreshing wine, low in alcohol, made from the grape país, raised in pipas – barrels made from the local wood raulí.
Maurico has 4 hectares of land to work, just himself, and his wife, and every once a while a young intern eager to learn. Two hectares are planted to Pais, 1.5 to Malbec and .5 to Carignan. The Malbec and Carignan are grafted to Pais rootstock. He has a good amount of Volcanic soil, and very few of the intrusive Pine and Eucalyptus trees that the growers in this region disdain. The trees steal exorbitant amounts of well-needed water, they encourage fires, and they are not indigenous to the region…in other words they are intrusive.
Mauricio’s harvests are manual, the wine ferments in a large traditional Raulí Lagar…open top. He does not use sulfur, except to clean…and no chemicals or modern technique of any kind to ‘correct’ the wine. The wine is aged in old pipas and tinajas (barrels and amphorae, and the result is authentic.
The wine seems familiar yet is very unique. Reminiscent of Beaujolais but also can be referential to Mencia with the subtle grip on the finish. Certainly best with a slight chill. Saludos!