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Country of Origin: Chile
Location: Yumbel, Bio-Bio Valley
People: Mauricio Gonzalez & Daniela Tapia, Owners & Winemakers
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Estación Yumbel is a small family winery that produces honest and authentic wines from 4 hectares of dry farmed old vines located in rural Bío Bío Valley. "It’s just wine!" Mauricio often exclaims, and the wines reflect this attitude. He and his wife Daniela Tapia don't complicate things much. Their thinking is that people living in the countryside just drink the wine and that’s that.
Their pipeño is the showstopper of the winery and accounts for about half of their total production (around 18,000 bottles total a year). The word pipeño in recent years has been co-opted and used as a marketing tool to describe and sell a variety of different wines. In truth, it is at it’s essence a simple country/farmer wine made from 100% País that ferments and ages in pipas. Pipas are old vertical large barrels made from raulí, the native beech tree that’s both dense and finely grained and takes many decades to mature.** The Estación Yumbel Pipeño is produced from 150 to 200-year-old bush vine País grown on basalt (black volcanic sandy soil) in the valley of Secano Interior de Yumbel. Naturally made, the wine is ripe, juicy, and full of life!
Mauricio and Daniela work as naturally and traditionally as possibly in the vineyard and cellar. Copper sulfate is only used when absolutely necessary, which is rarely. Pied de cuves are created to start fermentation. Fermentation occurs spontaneously without temperature control in 60-year-old raulí vats or 100-year-old tinajas (ancient clay amphorae). All of the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, and most vintages are zero zero with no SO2.
In addition to being a vigneron, Mauricio also trains and races Arabian horses. He owns 3 or 4 horses and trains them almost every day.
**Sadly, and in order to support the rapidly growing paper industry, the Chilean government began removing the native trees in 1974 to replace them with invasive white pines and eucalyptus.
Descorchados: Past & Future in Yumbel with Mauricio González
Devenish Wines: Visiting with Mauricio Gonzalez Carreno at Estacion Yumbel