Pedro J. Rodríguez and Julio Robledo have built a home for Latin American wines at their popular neighborhood wine shop Grand Cata in Washington, D.C. In our May/June 2021 issue, they spoke with Chasity Cooper for her feature on how the pandemic has proved the value of small and local wine shops, and here, recommended in their own words, they share some of the bottles they’re most excited about right now.
Mexico: Bichi “La Gorda Yori” Skin Contact Chenin Blanc, Tecate “From Tecate, Mexico, 35-year-old vines of dry-farmed Chenin Blanc using native yeast fermented in concrete tanks for 35 days. This is an orange wine with some grippy, welcoming tannins with beautiful aromatics of herbs, orchard fruits with refreshing acidity. Tecate is arid with a pronounced diurnal range influenced by the Pacific Coast’s colder breeze.” $41, winetroy.com
Argentina: Matias Riccitelli Hey Malbec, Mendoza “From Mendoza’s sub regions of Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley, Matias Riccitelli combines vineyards sites in high-altitude Argentina using the beloved variety of two expressions of Malbec to produce a fresher style Malbec, showcasing mineral concentration and fresh vibrant black fruits. 70% of this wine matures inside small concrete tanks, with 30% remaining inside French used oak barrels.” $20, fpwm.com
Bolivia: 1750 Syrah, Samaipata “From southeastern Bolivia, this Syrah is fresh, inky, and balanced. Francisco Roig uses sustainable farming practices to produce fresh expressions of Syrah, Tannat, Torrontés, and Chardonnay in his family estate. The terroir is rich in clay-sandy soils that give the wines freshness and soft tannins, the microclimate in this region is a pronounced transition between the Altiplano to Tropical climate, sitting in the meeting point of these to sharp climates.” $22.99, potomacwines.com
Brazil: Familia Geisse Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé, Pinto Bandeira “A traditional-method sparkling wine from the southeastern tip of Brazil, this wine spends one year in the bottle during its second fermentation and produces as elegant bubbles as Champagne. This area has one of the oldest exposed soils in the world made of granite, named locally balasto. This gives the wines pronounced mineral concentration and high acidity, perfect for world-class sparkling wine production.” $23, grandcata.com
Chile: A los Viñateros Bravos País Volcánico, Itata “Itata is one of the oldest wine regions in the Americas; some say you can find the oldest vines alive in the world here. Free of phylloxera in southern Chile, this País (first variety planted in Chile over 400 years ago) showcases freshness and terroir. Grown in layers of volcanic soils, winemaker Leo Erazo uses low-intervention techniques producing low-alcohol wines that are fresh, aromatic, and balanced. Drink slightly chilled.” $18, brooklynwineexchange.com
Uruguay: Pizzorno, Tannat Carbónico, Canelones “A unique expression of Uruguay’s signature grape, this Tannat (means tannic) is made using carbonic maceration techniques to produce fresh aromas, soft round tannins, and a medium body. We love this wine with a slight chill with friends, family, and BBQ.” $21, grandcata.com