You may remember that in early February I was in southern Chile and saw the terrible effects of the late-January fires there (see Mainly Itata). Miguel Torres Maczassek, who has long played an important part in the southern Chilean wine scene, sent these heart-rending pictures from his visit to the country from his base in Catalunya.
He reports about his ground-breaking Pinot Noir (see The perils of monoculture), 'We have decided not to produce Escaleras de Empedrado 2017. Our vineyard has been very much affected by the fires, burning five of the 25 hectares already planted of Pinot Noir in slate soils. You can notice the smoke by tasting the grapes even on those that look good. Guaiacol is very present (see smoke taint) and a taste of smoke is clearly noticeable. Interestingly, some burnt vines are in a survival mode and are flowering in March!
He continues, 'All the forests around have been destroyed and this has a very negative effect on the small towns of the Empedrado Valley. I cannot describe how sad is to see this. The fires have also affected many País producers in the coast. We are working with our suppliers accepting the grapes even when we know we will not be able to use all of them because of the smoke. We are also helping to rebuild some of the houses they have lost.
All in all very sad after all the work done.