£17.50–£17.99, Grape Expectations, Novel Wines
If you fancy an unusual, high quality, yet effortlessly approachable red, this rare Chilean Marselan is the wine. It's deep in colour, choc full of dark fruit – blackberry, raspberry, black cherry – and brushed with smoky pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and a streak of savoury black olive. There are tannins, but so smooth and supple no tannin-phobe could possibly object.
Having risked what is a very unusual grape variety in Chile, Jose Gonzalez and his wife (also a winemaker) decided to ferment it in temperature-controlled concrete eggs. They made 5,000 bottles and named it Ludopata, 'the gambler'. You can see why.
A bit more about Marselan: it's a cross of – answer to a popular wine-quiz question coming up – Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache that was registered in the Official French Catalogue of vine varieties in 1990, so it's a relative youngster. Its stronghold is still the south of France, where it originated, but it's also one of the new permitted grape varieties in Bordeaux. After France, comes Uruguay (perhaps surprisingly) and there's a little in Brazil, Spain and China.
Tringario is part of MoVI, a group of 34 small, independent, hands-on Chilean producers (Movimiento de Viñateros Independientes) who make interesting and innovative wines and promote each other's wines as much as their own. Two other MoVI wines I can recommend are La Despensa Mission:Impaissable 2019 and Polkura Random 2017, both from Colchagua. The UK importer of MoVI members is Propeller Wine.
The Ludopata Marselan is at ease with food. I matched it to saucisse de Morteau (a smoked sausage) with green lentils, a vegetable and blue cheese tart (pepper, aubergine, tomato, red onion), and a lot of other vegetables, including roast roots, roast endive and wilted perpetual spinach. It can take a bit of spice too. 14.5%. Empty bottle weight: 635g.
Tringario Ludopata Marselan 2020, Colchagua Valley, Chile