19 Jan - Small updates below but more complete results and Chilean news will be published, once Wines of Chile has sorted out the vintages!
The 7th annual Wines of Chile Awards were announced last Thursday night at the now-traditional dinner with the great and the good of the Chilean wine industry, although this year threw up no shortage of exciting new names.
This year for the first time, the judges were all Canadian, an assemblage of the great and the good in wine writing in Canada, Chilean wine's third most important export market after the US and the UK: Tony Aspler, Gurvinder Bhatia, Sid Cross, Anthony Gismondi, Nick Hamilton, David Lawrason, Rod Phillips, David Scholefield, John Szabo and Bill Zacharkiw.
The wine voted Best of Show was from a big company, made from an increasingly fashionable variety and from an increasingly celebrated region: Viña San Pedro, 1865 Single Vineyard Syrah 2007 Cachapoal. Wines of Chile's picture of winemaker Marco Puyó celebrating is above.
However, of the trophy winners, the Sauvignon Blanc trophy was won by the husband and wife team Felipe García and Constanza Schwaderer, who used to make wine at Viña Calina/Cases del Bosque and Viña Agostinos/Veranda respectively but were helped along their independent way by Naked Wines in the UK (see this thread in members' forum). Viña Bravado, Marina Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Casablanca Valley is their first white wine - not a bad debut.
Another impressive performance by a smallish relative newcomer was by O Fournier, the company that started out in Argentina, then expanded to Ribera del Duero in Spain and has been in Chile for only two vintages. Winner of the Red Blend trophy was O Fournier, Centauri Blend 2008 Maule Valley, only the second vintage of this characterful blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Carignan, taking advantage of the ancient vines to be found in Maule, a region that is being increasingly recognised. (The original official list of trophy winners erroneously described this as a 2006.)
To see a lightly corrected version of this initial list of trophy winners, see here, and many congratulations to all.