Huasa de Pilen Alto País
100% Pais. Huasa de Pilen Alto has much in common with Luyt’s pipeño wines, being made from very old País bush vines tended by two huasos, or farmers, in the Maule region of Chile. But it comes from a very special single vineyard called PIlen Alto, vividly described by importer Jules Dressner after a visit: “Nestled in a mountain surrounded by woods, two independent farmers share small houses directly under magnificent 200-300 year old Paìs grown on deep red clay, granite and schist. The dirt road to get there is way too treacherous for a motor vehicle, so the grapes are brought back up by ox-cart. At 580 meters, this is the highest elevation Luyt works with, giving the wines a freshness unmatched in anything else he produces. A trademark smokiness, which Luyt attributes to the schist, it noticeable with a little air after opening.”
As with other Luyt wines, the farming is organic and without irrigation (hence sin riego and de secano or “dry-farmed” on the label). The fruit is hand-harvested, manually destemmed using a traditional zaranda and fermented spontaneously with native yeasts in open wooden lagares. The main difference between the Pilen Alto and the pipeños is in the aging: the Pilen Alto is partly aged in barrique and for a longer period versus the brief time spent by the pipeños in old wooden tanks called pipas. Emphasizing this Burgundy-leaning style, the Pilen Alto is bottled in 750-ml instead of the pipeño liter. It is a very pale, pretty red with lighter color and body and more delicate aromatics and polished tannins compared to the more robust pipeños.