Tip top Chile
(by Peter Richards MW)
Here are a few articles on Chilean wine I’ve had published in Decanter magazine recently.
First up is a recommendations piece after a blind tasting I did of Chilean wines made from Rhône varieties excluding Syrah (so Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre etc). This is an exciting area at the moment in Chile, as old-vine Carignan is revived to good effect (the wines tending to be less massive now than they were) and the likes of Grenache and Mourvedre are giving savoury, mineral-laden styles of wine rather than big fruit bombs. Definitely an area to keep an eye on – and there are some pretty sexy wines in the line-up. This piece is from the January 2016 edition, which is out now, and you can download the PDF here: Peter Richards MW recommends Chilean Rhône reds in Decanter Jan 2016
If this topic piques your interest, then you can read a bit more about the renaissance of Chile’s old-vine Carignan in this piece I wrote for the October 2015 edition: Peter Richards MW on VIGNO for Decanter Oct 2015 Vigno is a fascinating phenomenon whereby a group of producers in southern Chile have come together to form what is essential a voluntary appellation of sorts. It all stems from a desire to rescue and champion old-vine Carignan and, in doing so, help give an economic impetus to a profoundly rural area that needs all the help it can get. The wines are delicious, too. (You can probably have some fun telling me how inconsistent my marks are between the two pieces…)
Although modern Chilean wine is all about diversity, there’s no ignoring the fact that the industry is still built around Cabernet Sauvignon, the grape variety that makes up a whopping third of the entire national vineyard. For a while, though, it got slightly lost in the race to champion all things new, diverse and exciting in Chilean wine – Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Carignan et al. Now, however, forward-looking winemakers are revisiting Cabernet with a vengeance, aiming for more elegant, age worthy and refined styles. Many are taking inspiration in past wines to achieve this – kind of a Back to the Future dynamic. You can read all about it here: Peter Richards MW on the new face of Chilean Cabernet for Decanter Oct 2015
Finally, a general recommendations piece focusing on good value wines from South America. The panel tasted nearly 250 wines, all under £12.99, and these were the best. (To be clear, I was only on the panel for the whites and fizz.) Top 50 value buys from South America, Decanter Oct 2015