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Interview with Peter Richards on Premier League Chile

Earlier in the month, Master of Wine Peter Richards showcased 12 premium Chilean wines in a ‘Premier League’ tasting at the London International Wine Fair. Amanda Barnes interviews him.

What do you want people to take from tasting Chilean wine in a masterclass like this?

That it’s important to keep an open mind as regards 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. It’s a fascinating time for Chilean wine. I also wanted to make the point that Chile’s wine future is being shaped by its past. I showed a 1962 Macul Cabernet (glorious) against the 2013 Luis Pereira – both wines made by Santa Carolina, the latter an attempt to recreate the former, a style of Chilean Cab which isn’t around these days but will be back on the menu soon. That’s hugely exciting.

How important are masterclasses and tastings in communicating about Chilean wine?

Very. Short of getting out to the country, which is a big commitment for key wine folk, a well informed, well presented seminar is a great way of getting to know the latest about a country and its wines, with behind-the-scenes info and new wave wines being selected. It’s also important to have independent views rather than just winemakers or promotional agencies presenting their messages.

What were the impressions people had from tasting the top Chilean wines?

Good. Some were surprised. My aim was to challenge peoples’ views. Not everyone liked everything. But that was the whole point – to showcase the fact that Chile is making ground-breaking wines, wines that aren’t going to be so bland they please everyone. These are wines with character and individuality. Many people came up to me afterwards and said how they’d liked one or two particular wines. I featured three pinot noirs in very different styles – I heard positive things about all three. That’s great to see.

Is Chile a country with world-class wines?

Yes. I’d humbly assert that anyone who thinks otherwise is overdue a trip out there. Or they can come to a seminar!

 

You can read more of Peter’s impressions on Chilean wine on his website, or download his  Chile Wine Brief.

Photo by Alvaro Arriagada

Peter-Richards-MW

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