Sacrificing wine to the Inca Gods

by Andrew Hooper

Many things have been done to wines over the centuries in the name of improved quality. Much of the world鈥檚 best wine, for instance, is poured into oak barrels for various (often surprising) lengths of time. Casks of Madeira used to be shipped to India and back and, even, left out in the rain.聽A few聽Vin Doux Naturels in the south of France are matured in glass demi-johns left outside in the baking sun , and at least one Loire producer is ageing his wine聽on the seabed in the Atlantic聽. But never before, as far as we know, has a wine been ‘sacrificed’ to the Incan mountain Gods. Until now, that is.

Norwich-born winemaker Ian Hutcheon owns the Tremonte estate in Chile. Back in pre-Conquest times, the Incas sacrificed animals and, often, their fellow man to the Gods atop of the mountains. Ian, inspired by the ancient traditions of the Incas (and, to be a touch cynical for a moment, the more modern traditions of the PR department) has ‘sacrificed’ a few bottles from his winery to Monte Tuca. This sacrifice is, fortunately, not quite as terminal as those of the Incas. 聽Individual bottles are wrapped in a cloak, sealed inside small聽coffins and buried at the summit of the mountain.聽聽Reportedly some 200 bottles have been buried thus.聽Once they have overwintered, thirsty and curious punters may ascend Monte Tuca with a map and a spade (and presumably a corkscrew)聽and dig a bottle up again to give it the true final聽sacrifice that all good bottles of wine deserve.

The wine selected for this mystic treatment is Monte Rekewa Gran Reserva, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmen猫re, Syrah blend and聽the flagship wine from his Tremonte estate,聽now available exclusively from Lea & Sandeman.聽In addition to the Monte Rekewa there is in the range a fine cassis-laden and quite crunchy Cabernet Sauvignon, a warm brambly Merlot and a rich velvety Malbec.

All the Tremonte wines聽at Lea & Sandeman聽are available un-sacrificed, but should you wish to over-winter a bottle or two at the bottom of the garden, you鈥檒l have to provide your own coffin!

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