Chile's Vina Errazuriz is planning to make a sparkling wine for the first time.
Francisco Baettig, the winery’s head winemaker, told Decanter.com he plans to make a traditional method sparkling wine from Champagne grapes – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – sourced from the Aconcagua Coast and Casablanca regions.
Currently only a handful of Chilean sparkling wines are exported to the UK, the majority of which are made by the Charmat (tank) method.
‘Only about 25-30 producers in Chile make sparkling wines,’ Baettig said. ‘The quality of most has been terrible but it is improving’.
‘What confuses me is why there isn’t more sparkling wine coming out of Chile,’ Karen Hardwick, founder of wine education company the Wine Academy said. ‘I have yet to taste a sparkling wine from Chile to get excited about.
‘It would seem to make perfect sense. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is getting better all the time and sparkling wine is growing ahead of Champagne. It’s a missed opportunity.’
Baettig has been pushing for an increase in quality across the board at Errázuriz and says he will hold their sparkling to the same standards. ‘If it’s not good, we’re not going to release it.’.
For this reason he will spend some time in France early next year under the tutelage of several Champagne houses including Taittinger.
‘I have no idea how to make [sparkling wine] so I’m going to Champagne to learn. It’s a big challenge. It could be total disaster, we’ll see.’
Viña Errázuriz plans to produce the wine in 2014 with a view to release it to the public at the end of 2014/2015.
Written by Christina Pickard