Peter in El Mercurio

(by peter)

Chile’s El Mercurio is the country’s leading broadsheet newspaper. This past weekend its Revista del Campo magazine featured an intriguing article exploring how and why Chile’s Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t performing as well as it should.

I find this an interesting topic so I was happy to give my views, which are featured together with a startlingly large photo. It was also fascinating to read informed opinions from the likes of Pedro Parra, Chateau Kirwan winemaker Rodrigo Laytte, sommelier Hector Riqueleme and oenologists Marcelo Papa and Marcelo Retamal.

You can view a pdf of the article, which is in Spanish, by clicking on the following link: Peter Richards MW in El Mercurio, Revista del Campo, on Chilean Cabernet

Cabernet Sauvignon is huge in Chile. It covers a third of the national vineyard, and helped cement the country’s reputation for great value, characterful red wine. However, in recent years it has underperformed, with far too many hard, hot, syrupy wines at all levels – the product of over-ambitious winemaking and inapproriate terroirs.

However, there are grounds for optimism. Some producers are focusing on drinkability, elegance and complexity without heft. These include William Fevre, Calyptra, Aristos, Altair, Concha y Toro, Erasmo, Lurton, Cono Sur, De Martino and Santa Rita.

In short, Chile needs some Cabernet fanatics – like it has Syrah, Pinot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon nuts – to take risks, explore new terroirs and make thrilling small-production wines. Only this kind of activity will save Chilean Cab from inertia and ultimately a drab future.

My thanks to Eduardo Moraga for his characteristically insightful journalism, and to El Mercurio/Revista del Campo for the reproduction of this article here.