“Good wines for a good price.” Let’s be honest here. We all want quality, yet we don’t wish to pay astronomical sums for it. “Value for Money” is what Chilean wines are known for and this is how Chile has managed to topple Australia as the world’s fourth largest wine exporter both in volume and in dollar worth ($1.9 billion worth of wine exported by Chile in 2014). And it isn’t just cheap inexpensive wines that we are talking about. There are some good quality wines from newer regions and made in different styles coming from this beautiful country which has often been called “Bordeaux of the Southern hemisphere”. Chile can finally claim to having a wine style which it can call its own.
Chile has earned a reputation as the world’s foremost wine exporter helped by great demand for its wines all across the world and some brilliant marketing through organizations like Prochile, which is Chile’s foreign trade promotion body. Recently the Commercial Counsellor and Director of Prochile India, Carolina Vasquez, organized the first edition of Chilean Wine Masterclass at JWMarriott New Delhi Aerocity, for journalists, F&B professionals, restaurateurs and consumers to promote Chilean wine in India. Wines showcased were from some top producers like Emiliana, Valdivieso, Vina Tarapaca, Balduzzi and a new entrant Golden Garden distributed in India by Surya Phadke’s QualeMagni.
Carolina Vasquez spoke eloquently about the varied topography of Chile, from Andes Mountains in the east to Pacific Ocean in the west, to Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonian glaciers in the south. This offers a remarkable matrix of terroirs as a result of which there is a greater diversity to Chilean wines. There are some world class whites coming from the newer cooler wine zones which are closer to the ocean and to Antarctica and vines are being planted at much higher altitudes, where a few years back it would have been unthinkable. The geographical isolation of Chile has been a blessing for its wine industry as it has kept the country phylloxera free, that dreaded disease which has been the bane of viticulturists. Near perfect conditions for vine growing and an unpolluted Mediterranean climate has made it possible for a large proportion of vines to be cultivated organically. There is more focus on quality now and fewer yields which result in better fruit.
Coming to the wines at the masterclass we began with four whites. The first two were from Emiliana (reputed producers who own vineyards in Chile’s best wine valleys) Emiliana Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from Bio Bio Valley in Southern Chile and Emiliana Chardonnay 2014 from Casablanca Valley. Emiliana wines are imported and distributed in India by Hema Connoisseur Collections. The other two whites were Viña Tarapaca Chardonnay 2014 (slightly sweet) from Maipo Valley (imported by Brindco) and Balduzzi Chardonnay 2014 from Maule Valley (imported by Nature’s Bounty). It was a good exposure to whites from different regions of Chile and grown at different altitudes. What they all had in common was crisp minerality, freshness and fruity nature.
Among the reds, for which Chile is gaining a good reputation, we tried the Emiliana Merlot 2013 from Rapel Valley, Balduzzi Reserva Merlot 2012, an oaked Merlot from Maule Valley, Emiliana Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 from Central Valley and Golden Garden Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 also from Central Valley. These are all fruity, easy drinking wines and are available in India at affordable price points.
The last two reds were both from Valdivieso (imported and distributed in India by Agnetta International), Valdivieso Pinot Noir Reserva 2102 and Caballo Loco (No 14) named after the winemaker Jorge Coderch called “Crazy Horse”. A multi-vintage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec & Merlot, made by the Solera method where previous productions are blended with new batch, a part of which is then reserved for future productions, this was the best and most complex Chilean red I have had the pleasure of tasting.
The first edition of Chilean Wine Masterclass was a great success and full marks to team Prochile led by the Director Carolina Vasquez who took this wonderful initiative. Looking forward to many more such sessions and hoping to taste some Carmenere which was missing this time.
What I would recommend to my readers is to pick up a bottle or glass of that Chilean wine and remember, that at the end of the day, the best wines are those that we drink with family and friends.
By : Lavina Kharkwal
To read more on Chilean Wines available in India you may click on the following link