A marathon three-day blind tasting marked Wine’s of Chile tenth annual awards ceremony in mid-January. Nine wine professionals judged the event, tasting over 600 wines – 18 of which were selected to receive prestigious awards.
‘Best in Show’ and ‘Best Super Premium Red Wine’ went to Viña Errazuriz’s iconic blend Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve from 2010, an innovative fusion of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Carmenere, and Cabernet Franc.
“We are trying to show finesse and quality from Chile and our winemaker and team are key in doing that,” owner of Viña Errazuriz Eduardo Chadwick told those gathered at the event. “Thank you for recognizing our efforts.”
While super premium wines found their spotlight during the evening, so did unbeatable bargains. Two best value trophies went to Oveja Negra Cabernet Franc-Carmenere 2011, which earned ‘Best Value Red’, and Santa Carolina Reserva Moscato 2012 that secured the medal for ‘Best Value White’.
Three of the nine judges presiding over the event were Chilean wine professionals while the rest were invited from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea, marking a shift in Wines of Chile’s focus from previous ceremonies.
“The tenth annual Wines of Chile Awards is a symbol,” Claudio Cilveti, Managing Director of Wines of Chile, explained. “We need to give a bigger focus to Asia now. These judges are now our ambassadors in the market.”
Yumi Tanabe, a prominent Japanese wine consultant and industry writer, explained the growing popularity of Chilean wines in her country.
“The Cabernet Sauvignon is [currently] popular in Japan and it has a nickname… ‘Chile Cabe’, it means Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon,” Tanabe told Wines of Chile. “We are starting to drink more white wine and so Sauvignon Blanc [will be popular], the price is very reasonable and the quality is very high. Sauvignon Blanc is very good for sushi and tempura.”
Another judge at the event, Fong Yee Walker, a Chinese-English wine educator and seasoned judge for international wine competitions, offered her opinions of the wines tasted at the awards ceremony.
“The Syrah seems to be of very high standard. The Pinot Noirs have also been very good – nice fruit and good balance,” Walker told Wines of Chile. “When you look at the price compared to New Zealand, it was amazing.”