Our new favorite wine for grilled foods, the 2010 Louis-Antoine Luyt "Huasa de Trequilemu" ($22 for 750 ml), could claim dual citizenship.
While it's handcrafted in Chile, the red wine is made by a native Frenchman--and in a decidedly French style, favoring Beaujolais' brightness and vibrancy.
Winemaker Louis-Antoine Luyt first arrived in Chile 15 years ago, at age 22. After a stint as a wine director at a restaurant, he became obsessed with exploring the potential of Chile's few independently run vineyards, most of which sold their grapes to large industrial wineries.
Returning to France to study oenology, he apprenticed under the late natural wine legend Marcel Lapierre, known for his production of Morgon in Beaujolais. Luyt exported Lapierre's minimal-intervention approach to Chile, where he sources fruit and rents vines from several independent growers.
Although he experiments with French grapes, his attempts to reclaim the pale-skinned Pais variety, once relegated to jug-wine production, are intriguing and, as the Huasa de Trequilemu demonstrates, entirely successful.
In the glass, served with a slight chill, the Huasa de Trequilemu is an unusually fresh Beaujolais-style wine, but with a deeper, spicier Chilean edge that pairs perfectly with grilled pork and chicken.
We think of it as bilingual.