The Drinks Business Editor Patrick Schmitt recently came to Chile to explore some of the wine regions and meet with different winemakers to learn about the exciting innovations in Chilean wine. With a whirlwind six days, Patrick met with 24 wineries and their winemakers to find out about the latest novelties in Chile and discovered many new interesting projects.
“I wasn’t expecting to find so many niche and original projects taking place within Chile, particularly among the country’s largest producers,” commented Patrick. “These included the rediscovering of old vine material but also a push to yet more extreme viticultural areas, such as plantings almost right on the coast, as well as in the far south or north of the country, or at yet higher altitudes. I was also surprised at how rapidly Chile has developed into a serious producer of Pinot Noir that actually tastes of Pinot.”
Many of the tastings and interviews were held in Santiago, however on the weekend of 26th and 27th July Patrick traveled to Colchagua and Maipo to visit some vineyards for tastings and tours onsite. Those included a tour of the biodynamic vineyards of Emiliana and Lapostolle, lunches at Casa Silva, Santa Carolina and Montes, tastings and interviews at Caliterra and Concha y Toro, and an overnight stay in the historic 1885 house of Santa Rita.
“I very much enjoyed meeting the broad range of people in the Chilean wine industry, who were articulate, enthusiastic and generous with their time,” said Patrick, who has been part of the distinguished UK drinks publication for over 10 years. “They were also all highly organized and punctual, which I appreciated as I had a very busy schedule.”
After trying a great myriad of Chilean wine from all over the country, what was it that really stood out for Patrick during his time here in Chile? “Most exciting is probably the re-discovery Chile’s old vine material in Maule and Itata particularly. Such vines, planted un-grafted, bush-trained, and dry farmed are rarely distinguished grape varieties (for example Pais or Carignan), but are still producing good wines, which, importantly, can’t be replicated elsewhere.”
As is often the case, some the most exciting revolutions are going back to the country’s oldest roots.