Rafael in his "Labyrinth" shaped vineyard. The shape more closely mimics how grapes would be nourished in the wild.

Rafael in his "Labyrinth" shaped vineyard. The shape more closely mimics how grapes would be nourished in the wild.

For this month’s wine club, which we will release this Sunday, October 29th, we have a special treat: two exquisite wines from the winner of our First Annual Winemaker of the Year Award, Rafael Tirado of the Chilean winery Labertino!

The story of Laberinto’s wines encompases innovation, creativity, spirituality. embracing nature, time spent with family, and above all, experimentation. And, of course, unreal wines.

Winemaker Rafael Tirado and his family had vacationed in Colbún, which sits at the foothills of the Andes about 3 hours south of Santiago in Chile, for generations. It only made sense, therefore, that the place would eventually become the site for his winemaking project. The years since are loaded with family anecdotes: vintages where the children and adults participated together by squeezing, pressing and treading the grapes are still revered to this day as some of the family’s fondest memories together.

Barrels filled with heaven...

Barrels filled with heaven...

Laberinto started as a family project between Rafael Tirado and his father-in-law. It has since grown into one of Chile’s most renowned wineries.

Proof, you say? In the 2010 edition of Descorchados, Patricio Tapia chose the Laberinto Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Colbún as the Best White Wine of Chile. Both of the wines we have chosen for this month’s wine club received 90+ points from many wine critics. 

Rafael, and by extension, Laberinto’s wines, thrive because of his unwavering devotion to giving himself absolute freedom to make mistakes and to experiment. The wines you will be enjoying for this month’s wine club are derived from this freedom, from his imagination running wild.

To best wrap our head around his approach, it’s best to let Rafael speak for himself:

“To understand my approach to winemaking, you must start with the idea of changing the straight and parallel way of planting the vineyards. The almost obvious ordering of the vineyards disturbs me. The perfect uniformity of the rows merely ensures that all the grapes receive the same wind, the same soil, the same water and the same sun in the morning and in the afternoon ...
Nature is not like that ... randomness and complexity are part of its essence.
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I felt that a circular stroke in the vineyards would deliver a complexity of aromas and flavors that would be expressed later in the wine.
This began a search for manifesting this longing in an archetypal image: something representing not only the variety of aromas and flavors, but also the physical and spiritual process involved in its elaboration.
It eventually occurred to me that a labyrinth offered exactly the shape I envisioned. So we built the vineyard as one, a replica of the Labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral, built around 1220 in France.”

So there you have it! To find out exactly which of Rafael's wines we've chosen to represent him, you'll have to come in and pick up your wine club bag for this month! We can tell you that you'll be getting a wonderfully complex and intriguing white, alongside a red blend with a few years of age under its belt. Other than that, you'll just have to come see - and taste - for yourself!

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