Pedro Parra Imaginador Cinsault

Like a Friday night with your best friends, this wine immediately puts you in a good mood.

It’s fun, refreshing, and most importantly, doesn’t require a sommelier certification to appreciate it’s best qualities. But before you worry that it isn’t worthy of a special occasion, let me say that you’ll love its elegant bouquet of raspberry, violet, and black tea, and a satisfying subtle smoky finish, making it the absolute perfect bottle to kick off the weekend, celebrate some good news, or simply turn a Tuesday into something special.

Cinsault has been disregarded for years as a mere blending grape in southern regions of France and throughout the southern hemisphere. But there’s a renaissance emerging, illustrated by plenty of high-quality Cinsault coming on the market and, some outdated less than stellar reputations to be shattered. Think of Cinsault as our talented winemaker Pedro Parra described it for Decanter magazine, ‘It tastes like a brother of Pinot Noir, delicate with beautiful, complex perfumed aromas, great minerality and also freshness. Somewhere between Pinot Noir, Gamay and Mencía… In a bad site, the wine is bad – much like Grenache and Carignan. But in Itata, the decomposed granite and quartz offer ideal conditions for Cinsault.’

Pairs beautifully with:
~ Spice-rubbed lamb chops with roasted tomatoes
~ Grilled salmon with chanterelles
~ Spicy grilled chicken with crunchy fennel salad
~ Grilled flatbread with mushrooms, ricotta, and herbs


Curious to learn more?

Pedro Parra was born in Chile, near the winemaking regions of Bio Bio and Itata. Pedro holds a Ph.D. in terroir from the Paris Center of Agriculture - something I had no idea you could do until I learned his story! As a highly respected consultant, often described as the “flying terroirist” for his work in Chile, Argentina, USA, Italy, Canada, France, and Armenia, Pedro brings an open mind and new vision to winemakers and viticulturists who are lucky enough to host him. For the past ten years, he has utilized electrical conductivity technology, specialized maps, and topographical studies to give growers and winemakers unique insights about soil content and to help them understand the full potential of the land beneath their feet.

After years of traveling the world studying and consulting on terroir, Pedro has returned to his home town with his wife and children to set roots for the next chapter of his life. He has been described as the leader of the “New Chile” movement in wine because of his endless work to shed light on the new chapter being written for the Chilean wine industry.

What is this new vision? It’s a renewed commitment to quality terroirs in the region. It’s a respect for the old vines and traditional farming techniques, but also knowing when to replant appropriately.


After wrapping up the (spring) harvest in Itata, Pedro was kind enough to answer some of my questions so that you can learn the full story behind the bottle...

A: Let's chat a bit about terroir. You've been described as a "flying terroirist" (as compared to the "flying winemakers" we are used to talking about). Can you tell me how you became so fascinated with terroir? Is there one aspect of terroir that you feel is most important - for example soil type - or is it the entirety of a place (weather, aspect, soil, etc) that fascinates you?

P: After 10 years working hard in Chile and Argentina as a terroir expert, I think great options for work were in Europe. And it happened, so yes, I do travel a lot. The concept of terroir fascinated me during my studies in Montpellier in 97. The whole idea of producing something from a small piece of earth with a tepidity, different from the guy in front, is one of the strongest agronomical concepts of earth. Artisanal as well… To have an approach on terroir needs time, and need to have strong imagination to be able to fix a triangle into a square. You need to see what other people don’t. And I think you can not learn that, you have it or not. I don’t have many things, but I do see what other people don’t in terms of terroir. And I think my specialty is the relation between rock-wine-minerality.



A: Having traveled all over the world and helped some of the world's best winemakers, how has that influenced your approach to winemaking? Are there specific lessons you've learned from different regions or producers?

P: My approach to winemaking has been 1000% (to) learn from my clients and friends in 19 years of work. My influence was, since the beginning, Burgundy and Burgundian winemakers. But Burgundy has limestone and I don’t. I have granite. So my winemaking in the last 3 years has been slightly modified following Spanish advice from friends, especially in whole cluster approach and macerations. Anyway, we can say it’s a Burg-Spanish way to vinify today, and it’s logical to me.



A: Americans are less familiar with wines from Chile than from some other countries. Can you tell me a little about the current state of winemaking in Chile? What traditions are unique to the area and how are things evolving today?

Difficult to say. Chile is a very classical country and winemaking has always been very Bordeaux like. Which, in my opinion, has little sense. It takes many years to change that approach, a generation. And is happening now. But classical Chilean winemaking has today nothing in common with my approach.

A: Can you describe the Imaginador to me?

P: Imaginador is a 100% very old Cinsault for dry farmed silty sandy granites. Is silty sandy because I look for sharp minerality and to get that, I NEED TO AVOID CLAY. The wine is vinified in concrete with no epoxy and then goes to untested fudre for 1 year. Since 2018 the wines have between 40 to 100% whole cluster to avoid the sweet natural side of Cinsault with amazing results. I love the wine.



  * Photos of Pedro and the vineyard courtesy of Pedro Parra