Coquus is a tiny project in Itata, Chile, started by Adrian Parada Arrau. Coquus is Latin for “cook”, and while Adrian began his career as an engineer, his passion always lay with cooking. After slogging it out as an engineer for 15 years, he decided to take the plunge and open a restaurant in Concepcion. The specialty of the restaurant was cooking food on a grill with direct fire. Adrian’s place became very well known and a favorite haunt of the world-renowned terroir expert and Chilean wine guru, Pedro Parra.
Adrian soon became Pedro’s exclusive caterer for all his events and the two became fast friends. Along the way, Adrian developed a palate and love for the wines of Itata, and came to see the parallels between winemaking and cooking. In both cases, the “magic” lies in the transformation of great raw ingredients into a final dish or glass that is something more.
With this growing passion for wine, Adrian worked for a year including harvest with Pedro in 2018. In 2019, he decided to make his own wine and went looking to source vineyards. First, he found an amazing, ancient, dry farmed, bush-pruned parcel of Pais planted in 1893 on granite that produced enough fruit to fill a 500 L barrel. Also that year, he connected with an amazing couple, Fernando and Teresa, who are part of the vibrant Itata winemaking community and work a small parcel of Cinsault from 1973 on granite in the old traditional ways. The 2019 vintage was just for his restaurant as it was his first. In 2020, he felt comfortable with the final product to sell to other restaurant friends. With 2021, Adrian felt he finally had something he could offer for other markets, including export.
As timing is everything, we were fortunate that Pedro helped us to connect with Adrian. We were blown away by the purity and freshness of the Coquus wines. These are soulful, minimal intervention wines – all neutral wood and indigenous fermentations - that speak loudly and clearly to their variety and place, not to mention the pedigree of the vineyards that make up these wines. Quantities will always be extremely small, but we are proud to be a part of Chile’s renaissance as a source of beautiful, soulful and refined wines that deserve their place on the world stage.