J. Bouchon’s 2017 Pais Viejo emanates from 100-year-old dry-farmed vines from Chile’s Maule Valley. These head-trained Pais vines are planted on ancient soils consisting of granite and sandy loam formed by Chile’s coastal mountains. J. Bouchon’s 2017 Pais Viejo was 100% naturally-vinified using century-old winemaking techniques, including the use of the zaranda (a structure made of sticks to destem the grape clusters). The end result is a beautiful old-vine Pais that has earned 92 points from Descorchados, South America’s most respected wine guide. All of the grapes were hand harvested and fermented with native yeasts in concrete tanks to preserve the wine’s fruit and an authentic expression of terroir. Sporting a bright cherry color, the 2017 Bouchon Pais Viejo sparkles in the glass. And one whiff of this light, fresh wine is all one needs to know that this is no ordinary, cookie cutter varietal from the shelf of a big box store. Aromas of ripe, fresh strawberry, raspberry, and wild cherry mingled with the first scent of spring flowers quickly greet the nose and alert the palate that something good and very different is about to happen. In the mouth, juicy berry flavors fill the mouth and glide gleefully down the throat on a bed of soft tannins and just the right amount of refreshing acidity. Bouchon’s Pais Viejo is a wine to enjoy with abandon or simply linger over as it slowly reveals charming hints of exotica. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest a light chill (55°-60° F) before serving.
J. Bouchon’s 2017 Maule Valley Pais Viejo is a wine to enjoy on its own or with a fine meal where it can slowly reveal its charm and exotic facets. Traditional Chilean meat and corn based dishes such as Tomatican and Pastel de Choclo provide ideal accompaniments to J. Bouchon’s 2017 Pais Viejo. And given the wine’s light, refreshing flavors and good acidity, it also pairs beautifully with fish, especially salmon and sea bass. It makes a fine companion to light pastas, too, especially those with vegetables or cream sauces. Tapas and other Mediterranean specialties provide more tasty options to pair with J. Bouchon’s quintessential Pais Viejo. Good old-fashioned Virginia ham with a bit of spicy brown mustard and a side of wilted greens makes another attractive complement. Enjoy!
It is no secret that a dozen grape varietals dominate the international wine market, often to the detriment of thousands of other vinifera grapes, many as worthy as the chosen few. This is especially true of wines from old, dry-farmed vines, many of which yield delightful, often exotic wines from grapes such as Pais. In the hands of an experienced winemaker such as Julio Bouchon, such wines are not only interesting and unique, they are downright delicious.
Emile Bouchon and his family emigrated from Bordeaux to Chile in the late 19th century. Today, Emile’s progeny, Julio Bouchon and his children carry on their 4th generation family winemaking tradition in Chile’s Maule Valley. With terroir-specialist Pedro Parra and the family’s in-depth study of the land, the Bouchons are preserving the historic character of the Maule Valley by crafting to considerable acclaim exciting wines from very old dry-farmed vines of Pais and other underrepresented vinifera vines. Julio Bouchon has been named one of the 10 top winemakers in South America by Decanter, the United Kingdom’s most significant wine publication, for his work with lesser known grape varieties such Pais, Carignan, and Semillon. He uses no irrigation and works extensively with older vines, many of which are over 100 years of age.
A native of Spain, Pais, also known as Mission, first made its appearance in Chile in the 16th century with the arrival of Spanish colonists. For centuries Pais was the most widely planted grape in Chile. It was not until the 21st century that Cabernet Sauvignon overtook Pais as Chile’s leading grape variety. Yet, in spite of its status among the Chilean populace, Pais has remained little known outside of its adopted land. Pais is an extremely vigorous grape variety that requires little water or care to thrive. If allowed to grow wild, as it often does in Chile, it can climb trees and nearby structures and yield more tons per acre than almost any other grape variety. However, much like other vigorous dry, hot weather varietals such as Carignan, Grenache, and Zinfandel, Pais produces wines of exceptional character from older vines when strictly pruned to limit yields. Although lighter in color and tannin than other drought resistant, warm weather grapes, ancient Pais vines that are properly tended yield delightful, vivacious wines, often with alluring, exotic flavors.
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