Chile transformed

If you think you know Chilean wine, think again. Chile is a wine nation transformed.

This is a piece I wrote for The Wine Society. They have a long and venerable tradition of publishing notable wine writers for their members’ newsletters and magazines, and now also on their website.

Here’s the link – Chile: A Wine Nation Transformed by Peter Richards MW.

I wrote it shortly after returning from a fascinating visit to Chile in February 2020. I delve into the history of Chilean wine before then coming onto the intriguing (and increasingly delicious) modern realities. I start off by writing:

‘It’s another world,’ muses winemaker Rodrigo Romero. He shrugs, and behind him a small terraced vineyard falls away down a steep slope. The vines seem a defiant presence amidst a landscape of rolling hillsides bristling with dark trees. ‘I want to make wines that speak of the place,’ he adds. ‘It’s a special place.’

Although Romero was talking about his highly promising Trapi del Bueno project in Chile’s deep south, his words could equally be applied to Chilean wine in general. This is a wine nation transformed.

More than twenty years of exposure to the country has confirmed to me that, even if you think you’ve got Chile sussed, it’s worth another look. Because if you’re interested in drinking rewarding, intriguing, increasingly elegant, diverse, expressive wines, this spindly country clinging to the coat-tails of South America has much to offer. Almost every bottle these days seems to have the capacity to surprise. You might not like all of them – inevitable when it comes to wine – but the charge of being boring or bland rarely sticks these days.