The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017

 

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The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017

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The Wine Merchant CHILE SUPPLEMENT

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The Wine Merchant CHILE SUPPLEMENT Published in association with Wines of Chile Distributed with the November 2017 edition of The Wine Merchant magazine © Graham Holter Ltd 2017 www.winemerchantmag.com Registered in England: No 6441762 VAT: 943 8771 82

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A PIONEERING SPIRIT dating back almost two centuries If there is a problem with Chilean wines at the moment, it’s simply keeping pace with the progress and innovation that’s going on. As Peter Richards MW – one of the UK’s foremost authorities on Chilean wine – puts it: “It’s important to keep an open mind about Chile. It’s a country whose wine scene is evolving so rapidly that you have to keep in constant touch to be up to date.” The pioneering spirit that has characterised Chilean viticulture and winemaking for more than 170 years is as prevalent as ever – and boundaries continue to be pushed. Exciting new projects are popping up in ever more extreme locations. Established regions such as Maipo, Casablanca, Leyda and Colchagua continue to produce and over-deliver on quality. Cool-climate areas like Limarí and Bío Bío, which have been on the trade’s radar for barely 20 years, are winning international acclaim. Meanwhile Elqui, on the fringes of the Atacama desert, is delivering an impressive haul of world-class wines. Maule, Itata and Malleco have become the “buzz” names of the south, and are producing exciting old-vine Carignan, Cinsault, Muscat and Pais with remarkable freshness and elegance. Osorno, close to the lakes and glaciers of Patagonia, and Huasco in the dry, arid Atacama, are now home to upand-coming cool-climate vineyards. It doesn’t stop there. Having one of the longest coastlines of any country has given Chile the unique opportunity to explore and cherry-pick the best coastal vineyard sites. Its reputation as a coolclimate producer looks assured. Since 2003 the area of land under vine in Chile has increased from 112,000 hectares to 141,918 hectares. That figure continues to grow as investment pours into not just established regions but the northern and southern extremities. Clearly consumers are liking what they are seeing. At a time when many countries are struggling to achieve increases in a competitive and congested UK market, Chile’s off-trade sales were up by 5% in terms of both value and volume, in the year to June. Chile has done the groundwork in the UK market and forged a reputation for excellent value at everyday price points. That value continues as consumers climb the quality scale and the breadth and diversity of Chile’s offer becomes apparent. These are exciting times for Chilean wine, with inspirational winemakers exceeding expectations, often in improbable surroundings. There’s a huge opportunity here for independent wine merchants. Graham Holter Editor, The Wine Merchant The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 4

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The Wine Merchant magazine teamed up with Wines of Chile to put on a tasting event featuring some of the more eclectic wines available to independents from UK suppliers. The wines were presented uncovered and with retail prices shown. Our tasters were: • Julia Jenkins, Flagship Wines, St Albans • Greg Andrews, DVine Cellars, London • Andrea Viera, Last Drop Wines, London • Laurent Faure, Le Vieux Comptoir, London • Dan Kirby, Adnams • Graham Holter, The Wine Merchant magazine. This supplement summarises what they made of the wines in the selection – and thoughts on Chile’s prospects in the dynamic and highly competitive independent trade. The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 5

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Andrea Viera Last Drop Wines, London Above £15, I see people really jumping off a mountain and flying I’m finding myself saying ‘wow’ a lot more when I’m tasting Chilean wines. I just think the quality of Chilean wine is so much better now. There’s an immense amount of quality and talent coming out that I didn’t see before, eight or nine years ago. I’m seeing people willing to start looking at Chile now at over £10 a bottle. We’re selling bottles of Chilean wine between £15 and £29. Chilean producers are getting to be a bit more experimental. Below £10 I see a steady, solid, consistent style coming through. Above £15, I start seeing people really jumping off a mountain and flying. They seem to be making really extraordinary wines at £20, £25. The Cabernets in particular are giving California and Australia a run for their money. Do some of them beat France? Yeah. Some of them are best in class at that value. I think what Chile is doing best are the classic international grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah – and it’s primarily on the reds that I’m managing to really drive the price. I would say that for us, Chile sells better over the £20 mark than Argentina does. But then we really endorse it. We do well with cool-climate Chilean Syrah, which I recommend when someone wants red wine with fish. I found the tasting completely fascinating. I think Chile is still exciting … and we haven’t seen everything yet. The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 6

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Cousin~ o-Macul is the only winery amongst those established during the nineteenth century that remains in the hands of the founding family. A family of tradition, character and identity. ‘Our mission is to produce world-class wines that are unmistakably Chilean, with character that expresses the unique taste of the Maipo Valley.’ Carlos Cousin~ o Chairman of Cousin~ o-Macul New Generation McKinley 020 7928 7300 orders@newgenwines.com www.newgenwines.com

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Julia Jenkins Flagship Wines, St Albans There has been investment of time and money into the vineyards and wineries, and the expression of the quality fruit in wines made from Carmenere and Carignan, for example, reflects this – especially at mid-price points of £12 to £17. There is still a good quality/price ratio across the price points and at entry level. Around £7 is a great base on which to build a Chilean range. How can Chile encourage consumers to climb the quality ladder? Continued concentration on quality and a focus on understanding their market in terms of perceived value by consumers and the trade. Continued development and strengthening of the profile of Chile as a source of excellent wines throughout the price points, as this generates confidence in them. Chilean wines can maintain a good position in the UK independent trade, as long as they don’t chase volume on the high street at the expense of good distribution and support from the independents – recognising their valuable niche and customer base for sales development. There is still a good quality/price ratio across the price points. Around £7 is a great base on which to build a Chilean range The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 8

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Cousiño-Macul Isidora Sauvignon Gris Maipo 2016 RRP £12.50 ABV 14% Importer: New Generation McKinley The Sauvignon Gris cuttings for this wine originated in Bordeaux and have adapted in an extraordinary way to the Maule Valley soil and climate. The wine is named after one of the company’s founders, Isidora Goyenechea. Judges enjoyed the wine’s crisp acidity, picking up everything from lime peel to apples and pears on the nose, and more tropical flavours on the palate. “Quite broad on the mid palate, and quite a peppery finish,” said Julia Jenkins. Dan Kirby praised the wine’s floral character and soft texture. Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Gris Paredones – Colchagua Costa 2016 RRP £13.95 ABV 13.5% Importer: Jackson Nugent The Paredones Estate is just 9km from the Pacific and is notably influenced by the cold-water Humboldt current. There are some definite familial links with Sauvignon Blanc here – judges were struck by the elderflower and gooseberry notes on the nose and “vibrant, crunchy acidity”. That acidity is accompanied by herbaceous flavours, and Greg Andrews also picked up on the floral elements that gradually revealed themselves and noted a refreshing, lingering finish. The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 11

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Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca 2016 RRP £9.99 ABV 13.5% Importer: Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies This wasn’t a blind tasting but had that been the case, nobody would have failed to identify the grape variety here. Laurent Faure found the wine “surprisingly expressive”; Julia Jenkins described a “zesty leafy fruit, quite concentrated aroma” and “a palate that is crisp and rounded with white pepper on the finish”. A unique style, partly attributed to night-time harvesting and leaving the grapes to cold soak on their skins for at least five days prior to pressing. Ritual Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca 2015 RRP £10.99 ABV 14% Importer: Gonzalez Byass UK An intriguing and surprising wine whose ripe, floral richness made it a big hit with most of the judges. Various techniques are employed during fermentation in terms of temperatures and cloudiness of the juice to unleash a wide array of aromatics. Andrea Viera enjoyed the “lovely ripe fruit and rewarding mouthfeel” and detected a herbal, medicinal note towards the finish. Dan Kirby found the wine “delicious”, praising its “almost peachy, creamy texture”. The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 13

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The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 14

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Morandé One to One Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca 2016 RRP £11.99 ABV 12.5% Importer: Berkmann Wine Cellars Most judges felt this was a textbook Sauvignon, picking out a lean citrus character, suggesting zesty green lemons. Harvested in mid-April from the Belén property in the Lo Ovalle sector, the valley’s close proximity to the Pacific aids the production of aromatic fruit. “Very classic and delicate” was the verdict of Laurent Faure. “Crisp and refreshing,” added Dan Kirby. “Nice acidity, a clean green apple flavour and a good crisp finish. A solid Sauvignon Blanc.” Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa 2015 RRP £16.85 ABV 13% Importer: Hatch Mansfield An elegant, fruity aroma provided the fanfare for a “ripe, honeyed, quince and tropical” palate, according to Julia Jenkins, who also enjoyed the balancing acidity and hint of spice on the finish. Dan Kirby picked out notes of peaches, limes and apricots as well as a soft, leesy mouthfeel. The use of native yeasts, as well as cultured strains of yeast, during fermentation contributes to the complexity of this beautifully-made Chardonnay. The Wine Merchant Chile Supplement 2017 15

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