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Pandolfi Price, Larkun Chardonnay, Valle del Itata, 2014
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This is wholly unoaked, but left on its lees a long time to develop a dairy richness. That long lees contact is apparent in the complex aromas - almost toasty with floral and herbal accents too. This is ripe and very rounded, creamy and rich (the fatness of Brazil nuts) with again that suggestion of toastiness. With satisfying length, this is a great Chardonnay for food and a real Mâcon-beater. Now-2016
Sharing the same cellar as Clos des Fous, at least for the moment, are the two Chardonnays made by François Massoc for the Pandolfi Price family. The latter have Italian lineage and François French, but both
are Chilean born and met locally in 2008. Enzo PP bought a farm in cool climate Itata, south of Cauquenes and east of Concepcion, in 2002 which included a vineyard planted on granular, decomposed volcanic soils in
the mid 1990s by a local professor of viticulture. The climate here is perfect for Chardonnay, being relatively temperate - the harvest is in April - and plentiful rainfall means no irrigation is needed. Until recently the grapes were all sold, but now the family bottle some of their own wine (for example just 250 dozen of the 2012 Los Patricios) and we have become their very first export customer.
François Massoc, a gentle, thoughtful man, is a master winemaker. Born just down the road in Concepcion, he spent years studying in Dijon and making wine in Burgundy before returning to Chile. He assists with advice in the vineyard, chooses the best parcels for the family’s wine, likes to work with long, slow fermentations, and knows barrels backwards. He is one of the new gang shaking up the Chilean wine scene, being winemaker at boutique wineries Calyptra and Aristos. What we liked about his work at Pandolfi Price is that here are hand-crafted wines from a great site but without any fancy boutique prices. It’s not just our opinion too: the 2010 vintage of the Los Patricios Chardonnay won the 2014 Decanter Trophy for best Chilean Chardonnnay under £15.00.