Here is a sneak peak of the outdoor terrace through the olive groves.
The outdoor terrace was designed by Lloyd, a great urban landscape architect, his initial concept drawing is below. A few photos of it’s current state are below and we will post more as progress is made.
We wanted to record a unique* Chilean lifecycle. The healthy green growth so full of life now, in Winter, suddenly dies back in late Spring and looks completely brown withered and dead but then in March the stems rise once again to yield these amazing pink flowers. Always a wonderful surprise.
*(as far as we know this only occurs with this plant in Chile, would love to hear from you if you know other examples of this.)
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This year was the first year we made enough oil to make a small quantity of taster bottles to share with friends and family. Here is a bit of the blurb from the bottle: The land of Fundo Meza is now the home of many dry farmed olive trees, all of different ages, which produce small but flavourful fruits. Each olive is harvested by hand and processed on the farm which is all part of our simple philosophy – do not add anything synthetic and honour the trees. It takes time but each tree has a life of its own and we learn more each year about the workings of nature and the trees. This olive oil is our first offering, the authenticity of each tree’s upbringing shines through in this oil’s rustic flavours.
This is our third bottling of Agraz – it still has the same tangy flavours and adds that extra zing to many drinks and dishes. Our agraz, or verjus, is lovingly crafted from our dry farmed, very old Pais vines. We thin the vineyards early in the season to capture the fresh green grape flavours for our agraz. This bottle brings you the raw elegance of our varied soil with nothing added to the organic grapes from vineyard to bottle. Agraz adds a new refreshing edge to dressings or sauces, drinks and many other dishes, like this beetroot salad and pine duck.
You can listen to a short radio recording about our agraz adventures here.
If you have previously tried verjus we think you will be pleasantly surprised by the unique flavours of our agraz. We have really embraced harvesting the grapes when they are very green, so contain almost zero sugar. There are two reasons for this: for one we like the extra-bitter quality as it really heightens the flavours of dishes; secondly, due to the sugar levels being so low we do not need to add sulphates to prevent fermentation as there are not enough sugars present for proper fermentation to occur. (We do lightly heat the agraz to pasteurisation temperatures to be extra sure you don’t end up with any fermentation).
Finally our first wine is bottled and ready to be drunk! TINTE is a natural wine* lovingly crafted from our dry farmed and very old Pais vines. We give you the raw flavours of our varied soil and nature’s yeast with nothing added to the organic grapes from vineyard to bottle. TINTE allows us to share with you the beauty and integrity of the land here at Fundo Meza. You can buy TINTE here.
We have found TINTE is best drunk chilled before or after dinner. It can also be a nice accompaniment with salads or spicy food…but everyone’s tastes are different so experiment for yourself.
We started making wine a few years ago, the first batches had a few quirks but thanks to some great advice from the local Maule young winemakers club we were able to develop techniques that allow the grape and lands to be fully expressed in TINTE.
This is the beauty of natural wines, they have an integrity to the grape and the land, rich nutritious soils and warm air create an exciting flavourful wine. This also means each year will be a new experience, a new wine. Enjoy!
Why TINTE tastes like it does:
Our 100 year old Pais vines are dry farmed (we never water them) and soak up the strong sun and elements in Chile, which ensures the strong unique flavours of the grapes.
Our small farm is certified organic but our approach is beyond organic,we practise something closer to natural agriculture and don’t do anything to the vines other than gently prune them and thin them in early Summer (to make the agraz).
When the grapes have turned red we hand-harvest them, press them and store the juice in a mixture of small steel tanks and old oak barrels. The unique pinky orange colour of our wine is formed at this point because we don’t add back in the red skins for the fermentation. The natural yeast on the grapes starts the fermentation and we allow the grapes to ferment fully over about 9 months in one long cycle. This is truly a natural wine, no artificial yeast or sulphates are use to start/stop the fermentation process…the grapes are in charge.
*natural wine means the wine was made on a small-scale using very traditional methods with minimum intervention, really allowing the flavour of the land to determine the characteristics of the wine. We rely on natural yeasts on the grapes and in the air and don’t add any sulphates (although some natural wines do contain sulphates). Rather than the idea of a ‘conventional red or white wine’, natural wines are exciting because of their wide variety of colours, flavours – each bottle a new experience, the true tastes of a particular place on our planet, unlike any other.
Here is a verjus recipe from one of our most adventurous testers, Jeremy, who is very excited about the flavours our verjus brings out. He has trained with the best chefs at restaurants around London, he worked at Noma for a while and is now a chef at Dinner, Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred dining experience. We asked him to keep things relatively simple, so he came up with this delicious duck recipe with a verjus sauce. Let us know what you think…
Duck with pine, verjus, stonecrops and cherry
Wrap the duck in new pine branches and marinate overnight.
Set oven to 160 degrees.
Score the duck skin and place in a cold, dry non stick pan. Turn heat to medium high and continue to roast skin side down until skin is golden brown and crisp. Remove half of the duck fat from pan flip the duck over onto pine branches in the same pan, glazing the crisp skin with some of the fat, place in an oven for 5 to 8 mins.
Take out of the oven and rest in a warm area for 10 to 15 mins.
For the verjus sauce:
Reduce 100ml verjus with 1 teaspoon honey, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, and the pulped flesh of 2 cherries. The consistency should be a thick glaze.
Split the sauce with same volume duck fat from the pan, then season.
Once the duck has rested, carve the breast in half, square off each side, glazing the flesh with the pan juices. Sprinkle fresh chopped pine shoots mixed with salt on the duck flesh side.
Grill a few baby kale leaves and serve with duck.
Arrange stonecrop seasoned with olive oil and salt over the duck with some slices of cherry.
The river is home to some form of crayfish or freshwater lobster-like creature, known locally as camarones. These camarones build little mud castles near the river, possibly for shelter, or maybe these are their nests?
The hike up nearby Tabontinaja is a great early morning wake up, a quick slightly steep meander into the coastal hills surrounding Fundo Meza. At one point you turn a corner and suddenly the whole valley swoops into view, framed at the horizon by the massive Andes mountains.
This Winter we focused on re-taming the 100 year old grape vines. The vines had not been tended to for many years, so they were very hard to access and pick grapes from. We want to use the grapes to make verjus at the end of the Summer and so it was vital that we thinned them out and put in posts and wires to encourage the vines to grow in a more manageable and less disease prone manner.
Deep vibrations permeate the sharp winter air as the wind whistles through the wind chimes at the local blueberry farm. Unlike most chimes, these heavy pipes have a very long and booming resonance that gently glides around the courtyard, filling the whole space.