Tim's Blog

Chile tasting at Richmond is great preparation for our tour

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The wine trade is buzzing with all the latest developments in Chile at the moment.

Numerous journalists and correspondents are sallying back and forth to review the latest vineyards and grape developments.

Indeed, I shall be sallying forth in a couple of weeks to do just that, perhaps in a more leisurely way – on my wine tours to Chile and Argentina.

Chile wine map
Source: Wines of Chile

As soon as you publish a Chilean wine region map it appears to go out of date as new valleys are discovered to be suitable for wine production and a merry band of viticulturists are regularly unearthing very old abandoned vineyards with great potential.

The other area of great interest is the diversity from East to West.  Chile is unique given its narrow width and ocean, desert, mountain and ice boundaries.  Despite the narrowness of Chile the topography from coast to mountain creates an extraordinary diversity of micro climate within each valley, and extensive research is going on into matching correct sites to the correct grapes.

At Richmond Wine Society on the 13th and 14th October, across the board the wines we tasted showed the accomplishment of the Chilean wine industry in producing really well made wines at every price point.  Chile has secured its reputation for producing reliable consistent ‘everyday’ wines, but now can clearly demonstrate its abilities at the super premium level.

Highlights of the tastings were the Montes Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from the Casablanca Valley, which was refreshingly individual and noticeably distinct from the oceans of Kiwi Sauvignon lapping on our shores.

Carignan and Pais are tipped to be the next big thing coming out of Chile.  The Caucquenina from Clos des Fous showcased the spicy elegance that these grapes can impart to a wine.

One big surprise came from an unusual source – a late harvest Semillon Riesling from the Rapel Valley.  Unbelievably good value and a delightfully refreshing sweet wine without being too unctuous.

All the wines mentioned are available in the shop.