Why Chile is more exciting than you think

Written for The Tasting Panel, August 2017

Chile sometimes gets pigeonholed as a safe, New World producer with good, simple wines at a fair price point. It’s not a bad rep, but it isn’t exactly riveting either. However, boasting both the oldest vines and the newest wine regions in South America, Chile is plump with diversity and spilling over with innovation. While the industry is concentrated in Santiago, the cradle of Chilean wine is more than 300 miles south—near the busy port of Concepción. Where the mouth of the Bío Bío River meets the Pacific Ocean, Concepción has been one of Chile’s greatest trading posts for over five centuries. “Vine-growing started in Itata, Bío Bío and Maule with the arrival of the Spanish [in the 1500s],” explains winemaker François Massoc. As word on the quality of Chilean wine spread, they began exporting back to Spain and the colonies, establishing a wine industry that the Spanish Crown sought—and failed—to crush.

While the industry is concentrated in Santiago, the cradle of Chilean wine is more than 300 miles south—near the busy port of Concepción. Where the mouth of the Bío Bío River meets the Pacific Ocean, Concepción has been one of Chile’s greatest trading posts for over five centuries. “Vine-growing started in Itata, Bío Bío and Maule with the arrival of the Spanish [in the 1500s],” explains winemaker François Massoc. As word on the quality of Chilean wine spread, they began exporting back to Spain and the colonies, establishing a wine industry that the Spanish Crown sought—and failed—to crush….

 

My wine picks

De Martino 2015 Viejas Tinajas Muscat, Itata ($33) Made in old amphorae with old-vine Muscat in Itata, this orange wine is pure exuberance: heady floral notes combine with honey, citrus zest and a structured mid-palate.

Leonardo Erazo 2016 La Resistencia Pais ($25) Low-yielding old vines make this ethereal Pais: light in color, floral and fresh in character, with a subtle and elegant style. A Grand Cru of Itata.

Miguel Torres 2013 Escaleras de Empedrado Pinot Noir, Empedrado ($100) There are several super-premium Pinots emerging from Chile, and this is one of the best: terraced, schist vineyards in Maule offer notes of red cherry, underbrush and graphite.

Undurraga 2013 Terroir Hunter Syrah, Limarí ($25) From Undurraga’s excellent single-vineyard series comes this aromatic, intense and spicy Syrah with bracing acidity from Limarí’s coastal limestone vineyard.

 

Read full article in the August edition of The Tasting Panel magazine

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s