A land of rolling valleys and exciting terroirs, Chile continues to make a name for itself among those in the know when it comes to top wine.
This month Chile is the main feature in Wine Spectator, one of the best magazines in the United States for everything wine. As the title, “The New Chile: exciting wines from the Andes to the Pacific” demonstrates, the country’s natural diversity is earning it some much deserved praise.
The underlying theme of the articles that make up this Chile-focused edition is the renewed sense of self-awareness and innovation that Chilean vineyards have embraced, finding the value in their unique place in the world of wine.
“Where once industrial winemaking and grape growing held sway, there’s now an unabashed pride in the natural gifts of the land,” read the feature article. “It’s all helping to reenergize — and redefine — this win-making dynamo.”
Traveling throughout Chile’s many wine regions, the team visited some of the country’s biggest wineries, like Concha y Toro, Lapostolle and Veramonte, as well as some of the smaller and younger vineyards like those owned by Emiliana — one of the largest organic wineries in the world— and Viña Apaltagua which sits in the Maipo Valley just outside of Santiago.
The magazine goes even further, venturing to the pioneering vineyards in the north like Talinay who are making their way into places like the Elqui Valley where Pisco is king and no one ever thought you could make wine.
Beyond the descriptions of innovative vineyards, Wine Spectator also explored the local wines which are taking the world by storm. In the spotlight are the many cool-climate varieties grown along the pacific coast. Among them are award winning Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs and Syrah.
Of course any discussion of Chilean wine inevitably includes a discussion of Carmenére, one of the most distinctive grapes in the country. Thought to be more or less extinct, the vine was rediscovered in Chile hiding among Merlot. Now the challenging grape is making a comeback.
“The Carmenére grape…offers a distinctive mix of dark fruit, spice, and herbal flavors,” Wine Spectator says.
One thing is clear reading through the many well written and detailed description of Chile’s best vineyards and up-and-coming labels — Chilean wine is a must for any wine-lover.