And the winner is...
Miguel Torres Late Harvest Riesling 2008, Curicó
Although it’s never been a particular forté of Chile’s, sweet wine is slowly starting to establish itself, largely as a result of some excellent work by patient and persistent producers such as Miguel Torres. Testament to the progress being made in this regard is the fact that this is the first ever sweet Chilean wine to win gold at the DWWA – also becoming a thoroughly deserving Regional Trophy winner.
The key to this wine’s success is its wonderful balance. On the one hand it’s rich and unctuous, with heady aromas of honeyed apricots and fresh-baked bread. On the palate it is spicy and dense yet it also has a seamlessly interwoven streak of thrilling acidity at its core which binds the wine together and imbues it with refinement and harmony.
Legendary Spanish producer Miguel Torres has always been something of a restless innovator and his Chilean operation is no different. The portfolio is broad and diverse, incorporating oddities such as a sparkling wine made from the local red País grape variety.
Riesling is hardly a traditional variety for Chile but Torres has it planted in the Fundo San Francisco in Molina, central Curicó. The grapes were left on the vine until June (the equivalent of December in the northern hemisphere) and picked shrivelled and with noble rot (botrytis).
The super sweet, highly flavoursome grapes were then aged in oak barrels for 14 months, resulting in a golden-hued, opulent yet well grounded sweet white of outstanding quality.
Written by Peter Richards