Colchagua, which forms part of the larger Rapel Valley, runs southeast to northwest, from the foothills of the Andes on its east to the Coastal Range on its west. It enjoys a perfect climate for viticulture; warm with cool coastal breezes, and dry but with occasional rain and rivers that bring meltwater and nutritious silt down from the Andes.
La Despensa Wines from Chile’s Colchagua Valley is owned, organically-farmed and operated by Matt Ridgway, originally from Dorset, and his Chilean wife Ana. La Despensa is focused on varieties that are not what you’d typically expect from Chile, such as the traditional Rhône grapes of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. They also offer a rare example from Chile of Italy’s signature grape Sangiovese and even rarer and very old-vine Pais from Colchagua, where there are just 50 or so hectares left of these ancient vines in the entire valley. La Despensa produces high-quality, fresh, unoaked and deliciously drinkable wines that invite a second glass.
Organically farmed, this is a true boutique operation, with all with all work carried out by winemaker Matt and Juan, the only full-time worker.
Grenache and Syrah harvested together and co-fermented in concrete with native yeast. Pulp and skins from Roussanne which was harvested for a straight white wine 10 days earlier (also co-fermented). Mourvèdre comes in 2.5 weeks later and with much lower Brix so we leave some Grenache and Syrah hanging to over-ripen and co-ferment with the Mourvèdre. This helps reduce the green notes that Mourvèdre can sometimes produce. The blend is made as soon as all the wine is pressed. Aged in concrete (lined, so neutral).
Very versatile, accompanies pretty much all styles and types of food, but a little bolder than the other wines so works well with darker meats. Has the acidity to cut through rich sauces too.