AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 32
Name of wine estate: Bodegas RE
Wine region: Casablanca Valley
Standout points: Boundary-pushing wines; friendly, informed tastings with a personal touch
Winemaker: Pablo Morandé
Wine style: Natural, amphora-aged wines featuring unusual blends
Bodegas RE is something of a Willy Wonka factory of wine. The theme here is constant experimentation, with a multitude of different cuvées being worked on every year. Improbable blends are aged in huge terracotta tinajas or large-format Italian botti casks. Red wines are aged under flor and kept back for several years until they are ready. If you’re visiting the Aconcagua region, these convention-flouting wines are certainly worth the detour.
The main man
For anyone with any pretence to having a finger on the pulse of Chilean wine, Pablo Morandé needs no introduction. Having made a name for himself in the early 1980s in Casablanca with Morandé and Concha y Toro, in 2012 he launched Bodegas RE, with son Pablo Morandé Junior – now the ninth generation of Morandé family winemakers. The family owns vineyards in Casablanca and a little further south in Maule.
A return to roots
The Morande family emigrated to Chile in the early 1800s, thus Pablo is returning to his roots with this operation. There is a sense of that in the cellar – there’s no stainless steel, no sterile lab atmosphere; Pablo has spent decades making wine the technical and high-tech way – by contrast this is his personal project and is imbued with his soul. Old-school techniques to craft his wines: there is no temperature control, indigenous yeasts are used for ferments, the objective being to marry tradition with things ‘counter, original, spare, strange’.
Something old, something new
Obviously, you’re going to want to taste these delicious oddities. On one hand, you have the freshness and modern style represented by the new-ish wine region of the Casablanca Valley (vines only began to be planted here as recently as the 1980s), on the other you have the traditionalism represented by Maule. Winery tours, various wine tastings, picnics, brunches, and wine and food pairing sessions are all available to you, and you can rely on the RE staff to make the most of each visit with their personalised and friendly approach. You will also have the opportunity to taste the family’s range of delicious olive oils, fruit liqueurs and aged balsamic vinegars.