Chile Wine Brief

(by peter)

Vineyard worker, Titon, ElquiAfter tasting my way through over 400 Chilean and Brazilian wines last week (as regional chairman for the Decanter World Wine Awards) and before I head out to Chile in a few weeks, it seems an appropriate time to make an announcement of sorts.

Recently, the number of people asking me when I was going to update my Wines of Chile book has been growing.

A fair few of my recent interrogators on this theme have noted the relative dearth of serious, sustained international coverage of Chilean wine, and I suppose they have a point.

When you think about it, there is little in the way of insightful, analytical and opinionated writing based on extensive research and personal experience written by those outside the country. (I exclude from this sweeping generalization home-grown talents like Patricio Tapia, Eduardo Moraga and Marcelo Soto; the former’s Descorchados guide is essential reading for those who speak Spanish, and it may soon be available in English too.)

This situation is particularly notable at a time when Chilean wine is evolving at breakneck speed. Since I first arrived to live and work in the country as a rookie journalist in the late 1990s, Chile’s wine scene has changed beyond all recognition. And, after many regular return visits, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve seen it in such dynamic and intriguing form as it is at the moment.

Colchagua soil profileThere is no lack of stories, personalities, rivalries, politics, triumphs, disasters, diversity, controversy, legacy, iconoclasm, innovation or, most important of all, a seemingly constant stream of new wines to stimulate mind and soul as well as body.

So I’ve decided to publish an annual Chile Wine Brief.

The brief will carry listings of my top producers, favourite wines (including top value tips) and names to watch as well as an overview editorial, regional profiles, assessment of the recent vintage and plenty of the latest data for those in need of a reference guide.

I won’t be pulling any punches and neither will I be slow to get excited, where appropriate.

To be clear: this is not an attempt to pronounce the ultimate truth about Chilean wine. Nothing in wine, or wine commentary, should ever be considered definitive. That’s the beauty of wine.

Chilean wineWhat I want to do is to start a debate. To foster discussion, awareness – and controversy, if necessary. To support those doing good work and give constructive criticism to those who aren’t. To provide an up-to-date reference work for those in need of hard data and insight. And, most importantly, to help steer quality-conscious wine drinkers towards the best Chilean wines, be they surprisingly pricey or cheap as chips.

In short, I hope this endeavour will provide a useful, topical and timely service to the wine community at large. In this regard, if you’d like to pre-register or have any questions, comments or suggestions for coverage, please shout – either post a reply below or email me directly.

The brief will be available this summer for a small fee; more details will follow soon.