As one of the greatest authorities on Chilean wine, and Latin America’s only Master Sommelier, it was a natural choice to have Hector Vergara as a judge for this year’s Annual Wines of Chile Awards (AWOCA). He accompanied a largely Asian panel to taste and score 615 wines in different categories and was a returning judge from previous editions of AWOCA.
Amanda Barnes interviews him to find out how it was tasting with a world of different palates and how 2013 compared to the previous years he has judged.
How did the tastings go this year?
We were in three teams with one Chilean judge in each so we could give some explanation to the others [Asian judges]. We didn’t teach them, just explained some things [eg. typicity of varieties and regions] and we always learn from others too. They look at wines in an international [view].
What was it like judging alongside Asian palates?
There was much less than 2% difference [in point scoring]. It indicated an international tendency. In some cases we had a disagreement over a wine and discussed why we disagreed. Our disagreements were a lot fewer than we expected. Generally we agreed.
Have you noticed any changes this year compared to previous years you have judged?
In 2004 there were more extracted wines, more oak and concentration. They [the Asian judges] are now looking for Chilean wines with just a bit of oak. They noted that the oak was barely noticeable, they were more balanced, had more fruit and more elegance. There was a great quality of Sauvignon Blanc and of Chardonnay. Syrah is also much more of an actor, we have a world class Syrah.
What is exciting about Chilean wines now?
I think the wines are beginning to have a sense of belonging, a personal identity.
Hector Vergara formed part of the judging panel for the Annual Wines of Chile Awards 2013. To see the results of trophy winners click here.