Fred Dex, Master Sommelier from the US, recently came to Chile and gave us his thoughts on wines in Chile, its diversity, its wines and of course - his favourite - Chile’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Read on for a full interview.
“Chile’s position with Cabernet Sauvignon in the United States is extremely strong. The wines are incredible, there are incredible terroirs, there are incredible winemakers.
“The value in the glass and the bottle is extraordinary. We did an amazing tasting with 60 of the top winemakers in Chile with some of the great wines of the United States and it was very clear the potential of Chile in the United States market. And Cabernet is the King of the grape varieties in Chile.
“It is the most popular variety in the United States, it is the strongest grape variety in the identity of Chile and it is very exciting to see what’s going on with Cabernet and the potential in every range - whether it is a $10 wine, a $15 wine, a $20 wine, or the icon wines of Chile at $100 or more. I think it is extraordinary and the potential is out of the park, and I’m sold - it’s awesome.
“The Chilean Cabernet in the on-trade and in the market in the US I think has a huge potential because the bang for the buck - you are drinking $10 wines that are $20 in other places in the world. These wines offer all of the bells and whistles and all of the great things of Cabernet: the structure, the fruit, the spice, the tannins, these are delicious wines in every single category. If we are talking about as a sommelier serving wine by the glass, for $10 or $12 it is exciting. An experience at $100 in a restaurant a bottle is amazing.
“I was extremely excited, and I think what is happening in Chile with Cabernet is following suit with everything that is happening in Chile - whether it is Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, new things, new plantings… But in Chile, Cabernet is the icon - it is the classic, it has the terroirs with the rocks. Cabernet rocks in Chile!
“How should Chile take advantage of the diversity of its varieties? Well it is clear, Chile has some of the most diverse terroirs in the world - north to south, east to west. The desert, the ocean, the Andes, Patagonia, the glaciers… The winemakers and the wineries are going everywhere in Chile and it is exciting!
“The winemaking is getting incredible from classic varieties like Cabernet and Carmenere to new varieties in Chile that are classic in some way: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir on the coast… and then things like Pais, Carignan and some of the more obscure varieties. Winemakers and wineries in Chile are some of the most diverse anywhere you will find.
“It is exciting, I think people need to think about how exciting on every level Chile is. Chile delivers something for everyone whether it is sparking wine made from Pais, whether it is a Sauvignon Blanc from the coast, whether it is a strong Cabernet from Maipo, whether it is Pinot Noir from Casablanca. It has everything anyone could ever want at every price point - from $5 to $50 to $500.
“Chile has everything you could imagine, it is one of the most exciting countries in the world and I’m physced to be here in Chile!”