by Michelle Kwan
The diverse terroir of Chile makes the region ideal for winemaking, producing varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Carmenère. The “Tapestry of Terroir” comprised the theme of this year’s Wines of Chile Tasting Event held recently at the New York City Metropolitan Pavilion and refers to the natural adaptability of the Chilean landscape towards wine production. Yet, Chile has only recently seen a proliferation of wineries; the necessary investment of considerable time, capital and effort has impeded the development of winemaking in Chile in the past.
But the growing interest in New World wines has placed the country on the map among the world’s wine producers and drinkers alike. Many of Chile’s wineries are only a few decades old, but their present vintages attest to the quality of their wine production methods.
The wineries represented at the tasting showcased a variety of wine producing regions and production methods. Valle Arboleda’s vineyards are sustainably managed and the cool climate allows for its grapes to mature slowly, preserving freshness and resulting in a refined finish. The Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and dry with good acidity while the Carmenère is deep in color, spicy and thick with hints of blackberry.
Casa Silva also had two memorable Sauvignon Blancs with the 2011 Reserva from Colchagua Valley being fruity, light and aromatic while the 2011 “Cool Coast” was drier and full of minerality.
Viña Garcés Silva Amayna utilizes traditional French methods in their wine production. The results are a bold, thick and full bodied Amayna 2010 Pinot Noir and a fruity Amayna 2009 Syrah with a hint of sweetness and spice.
Tamaya Vineyards in the Limarí Valley featured a 2010 Reserva Malbec that was smoky and rich, while the 2010 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon had strong aromas of blackberries with hints of vanilla.
Overall, the wines of Chile are, like the country’s different regions and climates, widely adaptable and versatile. Moreover, the emphasis many of these wineries place upon sustainability practices demonstrates excellence not only in winemaking but in environmental awareness as well. As demands continue to grow for New World wines, Chilean wineries will continue to make their presence known.
You can click on each photo to enlarge.