Report from Chile – 2002

A few highlights from my amazingly brief but incredibly concentrated tour of some top wine producers in Chile.


  1. At the middle to top end the wines are getting more and more Californian in their extreme ripeness, not just of fruit but tannins. In many cases this is a good thing. In a few, it has even been taken to extreme overripeness and a loss of refreshing fruit character.
  2. There is no doubt that there are some great Cabernet terroirs in Chile, in particular various sites in the most traditional area, Maipo, just east and south of Santiago, although Errazuriz' top wine Dom Maximiniano is a worthy ambassador for Aconcagua (and rather more successful in my view than the Mondavi joint venture Seña).
  3. Best value wines I tasted were the most recent releases from Concha y Toro's revamped Marques range which taste considerably more expensive than the £6.99 asked for them in the UK.
  4. Cono Sur have some seriously good Pinot Noir now – and not just the good value basic one based on Davis clones.
  5. The most interesting white wines I tasted, by quite a margin, were two blends: Casa Lapostolle's Tanao (rather Friuli-like and great with food) and a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier et al from the vertiginously improving Casa Silva whose new vineyards in the north-east of Colchagua really seem to be paying dividends.

Must fly, or at least drive, over the Andes.