Few winemakers in Chile require less of an introduction than Marcelo Retamal. Throughout his more than two-decade-long career, Reta has […]Keep Reading
Few winemakers in Chile require less of an introduction than Marcelo Retamal. Throughout his more than two-decade-long career, Reta has been in the vanguard of the qualitative changes in Chilean winemaking. For his restlessly pioneering work, he’s been lauded as one of the most influential winemakers in South America. He not only possesses a keen sense of terruño and how to translate it into his wines, but he’s an effective communicator for his work and the history of winemaking in South America. After 23 years working for Viña De Martino, Reta has “retired” to focus on the wines he makes at Viñedos de Alcohuaz in the Alto Elqui Valley and his personal project, RETA.
RETA was officially born in 2019 with the selection of three vineyard sites that Reta feels personally embody the best qualities in Chilean wine – Chardonnay from Quebrada Seca, Pinot Noir from Talinay, and Romelio, a Malbec-based field-blend from an ancestral vineyard. Quebrada Seca, planted in 1993 from a massale selection, is the oldest vineyard of Chardonnay in Limarí. At 236 meters in elevation, this relatively flat vineyard is located on the 4th terrace above the Limarí River, just 25km from the Pacific ocean. Dry-farmed, this vineyard has dwindled over the years to those parcels ideally placed to take advantage of the camanchaca – the misty marine layer that settles over this vineyard during the growing season. Talinay is a Pinot Noir vineyard planted on a west-facing plateau that is part of the coastal range. Just 12km from the Pacific ocean, this site is exposed to alternating periods of sun and the camanchaca ensuring a cool and long growing season. Finally, there is Romelio, a vineyard located 625km south of Limarí in Maule. Seeing this ancestral vineyard is like voyaging back in time to a period before the advent of modern viticulture in Chile. Romelio is named in honor of the man who planted this site in 1945 and tended it his entire life. Romelio is a Malbec-based field blend grown at the extreme western edge of Maule, resulting in a profound tension between delicate fruit and juicy acidity. Just as Reta clearly shows his love of Burgundy with his work in Limarí, you can sense his appreciation for the native styles of Malbec from France.
Each of these vineyards is dry-farmed without chemical inputs. Working the soils is done by horsepower and timed to prevent moisture loss. Harvest is manual, and the fruit is either pressed whole cluster or partially destemmed. Fermentations are spontaneous, and SO2 is only added to the wines after malo has finished or just before bottling. These are some of the most strikingly pure and defy wines we’ve tasted from Chile that demonstrate their Burgundian inspiration while representing the best Chile can offer.Close