The SOMM Journal

August / September 2017

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Page 40 of 148

40 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 { steven spurrier's letter from london } THIS WAS THE TITLE of a presentation by Wines of Chile in London in June destined to highlight the recent evolution of this long, narrow wine country and point to the future. There were four speakers to intro - duce the topic, followed by a walk-around tasting of new varieties and new regions. First of the speakers was Jancis Robinson, back from visit in January, who found the country totally changed from her last visit (admittedly 20 years ago), with all over the country a new wave of wine and lots of exchange of ideas with Argentina and more "Andes hopping" to come. Below are a few of Jancis's impressions. • Lots of interest and money being poured into Maule, reviving old varieties and vineyards and planting new ones. • Tendency of big companies to move south as Chile gets drier ; here they can dry-farm for quality, southern Maule hav - ing a climate more like Europe. • Mountain vineyards the rage, people planting higher and higher. • Will Itata (Patagonia) be Chile's Mendoza of the future? Bordeaux's Professor Peynaud visited 30 years ago and recognised the potential of the soil. Recently Marcel Lapierre of Morgon was impressed by the granitic elements and Comte Liger-Belair from Vosne- Romanée has seen the potential. • Chile is expanding at 3,000 to 5,000 hect - ares (7,400 to 12,400 acres) a year, the biggest vineyard expansion outside China. • Super-premium category expanding at a great rate. • More and more bottle-fermented spar - kling wines. To say that Jancis was optimistic would be an understatement. Next up was Fernando Almeda, who oversees the Torres wine - making in Chile, where the balance is 70% red and 30% white, with 80% is exported. He cited the new challenges. • Labour : fewer and fewer people working in agriculture despite doubling of salaries. • Energy: becoming more expensive, alter - natives are needed. • Climate: recent bizarre changes including the first frosts. • Plantations: mostly going south where it is cooler, also up to 2,500 metres (8,200 feet). • Cellar, a combination of new and old techniques works well. • Old varieties, being nurtured and revived, especially Moscatel and Pais. • Organic viticulture becoming more and more necessary. The third speaker was Emma Dawson, South America buyer for Marks & Spencer, who stated that for her Chile had grown 11.8% year on year, due to the policy of diversity and innovation, while retaining the customers' tried and trusted favourites. She noted a marked move away from oak and a preference for cooler-climate wines, sales of red rising 14.3% while sales of white fell 8.7%. Grape varieties on the way up were Carignan, Carménère, Malbec, Pais and Riesling, while those on the way down were Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. The final presentation came from Valentin Radosav, Head Sommelier at Gymkhana, the recently opened and very popular fine Indian restaurant. He found that Chile offered and amazing selection at different price points, which made them particularly good by the glass, his current best-sellers being Carignan, Pais and Petite Sirah. The tasting was wide-ranging and here are the wines to which I gave a score of 90/100 or over : Viña Ventisquero 2016 Grey [Glacier] Sauvignon Blanc, Huasco-Atacama $19.99) AUSTRAL WINES Amayna 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda $24.99) VINE CONNECTIONS Carmen 2016 Quijada No 1 Semillon- Sauvignon, Apalta-Colchagua ($25) PALM BAY INTERNATIONAL Morande Adventure 2015 Creole Cinsault, Itata (U.K. price £21.99) NOT IMPORTED TO THE U.S. Montes 2015 Outer Limits Pinot Noir, Zapallar Coast, Aconcagua Costa ($29.99) GUARACHI WINE PARTNERS Cono Sur 2015 20 Barrels Pinot Noir, Casablanca ($30) VINEYARD BRANDS Ocio 2013 Pinot Noi, Casablanca ($70) VINEYARD BRANDS Cremaschi Furlotti 2013 Edición Limitada Carignan, Maule ($24.99) Cremaschi Furlotti 2014 Edición Limitada Nebbiolo, Maule ($24.99) Cremaschi Furlotti 2014 Edición LImitada Zinfandel, Maipo ($24.99) ACCOLADE BRANDS Perez Cruz 2013 Chaski Petit Verdot, Maipo Andes ($35) MASSANOIS IMPORTS Viu Manent 2014 Single Vineyard Malbec, San Carlos, Colchagua ($19.99–$24.99) HENDRY PREMIUM IMPORTS Santa Rita 2012 Floresta Cabernet Franc, Pumanque-Colchagua Coast ($25) Santa Rita Bougainville 2013 Petite Sirah, Alto Jahuel-Maipo (£50) PALM BAY INTERNATIONAL Undurraga 2014 TH Cabernet Sauvignon, Alto Maipo (£19.50) MARITIME WINE TRADING COLLECTIVE Santa Carolina 2015 Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo ($19.99) CAROLINA WINE BRANDS USA Don Melchor 2013Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto-Maipo ($120) EXCELSIOR WINES Torres 2012 Manso de Velasco Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Curico ($59.99) STE MICHELLE WINE ESTATES Errazuriz 2014 Syrah, Aconcagua Costa ($21.95) VINTUS Matetec Corralillo 2104S yrah, San Antonio ($26) QUINTESSENTIAL WINES Lurton 2013 Hacienda Araucano Clos de Lolol Red Blend, Colchagua ($20) WINESELLERS LTD. Spotlight on Chile by Steven Spurrier PHOTO: MATTWILSON.CL COURTESY OF WINES OF CHILE Chile's Maule Valley.

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