Parra “Imaginador” Red Blend 2016
It may come as a surprise that the industrial town of Bio Bio in Concepcion, Chile, is home to the world’s foremost soil scientist for vineyards. But that’s the truth. Pedro Parra, Ph.D. in soil science and living legend among vineyard managers and winemakers worldwide, hails from Concepcion. And now, he makes his own wine right there.
Pedro’s resume reads like a falsified Ivy League college-entrance application, except that everything on his CV, he’s actually done. And it’s astounding. Pedro’s viticultural work includes Burgundy (Domaine Roulot and Liger Belair), Barolo (our beloved Marengo, among others), Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Chapter 24 and its associated wineries), Argentina and Italy (Altos las Hormigas, among many others).
Pedro’s work has taken him far and wide, but it has also taken him home. Here is how he explains about his own wine project:
“Pedro Parra y Familia was born in my head many years ago, but it was only after 15 years as a consultant, traveling and working all around, [that] I felt mature enough to begin. The place was also simple; Home. Today, [my home] is still not well known in the world. It makes me think to places I love, like Galicia, Barolo, Morgon, places that were old in tradition, but unknown to the world a few years ago. With my project, I hope to help all those brave vignerons that protected, for more than 200 years, their vines against the industrial forest companies, against politicians, against the big wine industries who abuse them, paying them almost zero for their best grapes. And I dream to see those places, and my home, Concepción, become the wine center of the universe.”
Bio Bio is extremely isolated – the indigenous Mapuche didn’t surrender to the conquistadors until the 1870s—by which point, European was the dominant local ancestry. This isolation led to a strong local commitment to viticulture, wine, and environment. It is a region totally lost in time, having none of the recent dictator Pinochet’s modernity thrust upon it; nor modern international varieties; nor high-yielding production schemes, be they mechanical, chemical or otherwise.
The resulting wine may just become the center of your wine-drinking universe. This spicy and savory red is juicy, fresh, minerally and lively with spirit and vigor. It is a wine with immense complexity – if you want to go looking for it – but you can also simply polish off a bottle on the patio, all with the ease of a cool glass of water on a hot summer day.
As an accomplished soil scientist, Pedro believes that the land can be key to understanding the flavors in wine. And here, planted on all-granitic soils, the wine has a sparkly, vivid fruit intensity and long, lingering minerality. Drink it now because, really, why wait? As a cocktail, with fresh seafood, or even – if our weather just gets a touch better – grilled meats. This is the ultimate spring pairing red wine.
Bio Bio and Pedro’s wine are unknown to the wine scene – for now. But so were Burgundy, Barolo, Brunello, Willamette Valley and many other regions just a few decades ago. Who’s not to say this may become the next hot spot in the world of wine?