Chilean wines continue to make a name for themselves on the world stage, winning awards and winning over taste buds everywhere.
Speaking with The Drinks Business, Marcelo Papa — winemaker at Concha y Toro’s Maycas del Limarí vineyard — explained why Chilean Pinot Noir is thriving in the Limarí Valley and why he things it could fast become a top grape across Chile.
So what makes a great Pinot? Terroir, according to Papa.
“Pinot Noir are very delicate wines that need optimum conditions to show all the potential,” Papa said. “They can be very elegant wines, with complex and delicate flavours, great structure and extraordinary freshness.”
While many of Chile’s top wines hail from the Casablanca and Valparaíso Valley — recently named the tenth wine capital of the world — Papa is finding success in Northern Chile and says there is a lot of advantages to working in the lesser explored regions of the country.
“In Chile the Pinot Noir started in cool areas but with a lot of sun and luminosity like Casablanca and Leyda. In my opinion nowadays Limarí and the south of the wine region are the new areas. You can find less voluptuous style and more freshness and elegance,” the winemaker said.
Although some might suspect the arid north is the opposite of the ideal wine valley, Papa thinks otherwise.
“[The terroir is] characterized by red clay soils overlaying a chalky base. It has cool semi-arid climate with a coastal influence that allows the vines to benefit from the morning fog,” Papa said. “These cloudy mornings and the calcareous soil provide the wines of fresh and delicate character.”
Pinot Noir isn’t the only grape making a name for itself in the Andean nation. Viña Casa Real’s Cabernet Sauvignon became the country’s first ever label to be distinguished as a Wine Legend by Decanter Magazine. Then of course there is Carménère, a grape thought to be extinct but miraculously saved in Chilean vineyards.