Chilean Wine Trade Show


The London Show took place on 9 September at the Horticultural Hall. There were even more vineyards and wines than in previous years – I was only tasting premium wines, but the 60 I tried were only about half of those on offer.

Viticulture in Chile is spreading north and south of the traditional Central Valley area. Most of the new sites are closer to the sea, and thus moderated by the cold off-shore current and breezes. These allow a longer ripening time and thus more complexity. The other recent development is the scientific analysis of vineyards plot by plot, with the selection of the grapes to go into top cuvees being done at the vineyard level, rather than by barrel selection. Producers are also finding some plantations of old vines to add depth to the wines – most of these were planted in the early years of the twentieth century, and include varieties such as Carignan that are not generally expected in Chile.

Many of the existing producers are making a big range of wines, from entry level (where you can rely on good fruit) up to super-premium (£40 plus) wines with long wood aging and considerable complexity. New winemakers are also moving in, with French makers such as Francois Lurton and Michel Laroche buying estates.