The world of Chilean wine was turned on its head last week as the results of the fifth Wines of Chile Awards were announced in Santiago.
No gold medals were awarded to Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the renowned Cabernet region of Maipo Valley, nor were there any golds for white varieties from Casablanca Valley, the region best known for producing quality cool climate wines.
Neither Chardonnay nor Merlot found favour with the judges at the gold level, but wines from Carmenère received more top medals than any other category.
The trophy for the best wine in the show went to Viña La Rosa’s red blend, Ossa 6th Generation 2004.
Five of the remaining nine trophies were shared between two producers: Falernia (which also owns Viña Mayu) and Anakena.
Eduardo Chadwick, owner of Arboleda winery and winner of the Carmenère trophy, said he was surprised by the result.
‘There were many unknown wines,’ he said. ‘Now I really want to go and visit these producers. Chile is changing so fast.’
Michael Cox of Wines of Chile said the awards reflect Chile’s diversity of styles.
‘There are trophies from all points of the compass. It is good to see newer regions do well, and a Cabernet trophy from Maule is a good indication that there are vastly improving wines, even from traditional regions like this.’
Speaking at a seminar during the awards, Joanna Simon, wine correspondent for UK broadsheet the Sunday Times, urged Chilean winemakers to ‘lighten up’ on alcohol levels and use of oak to address the growing preference in the UK for ‘lighter, zestier tasting wines’.
The full list of trophies awarded by category:
Sauvignon Blanc: Falernia Alta Tierra Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – Elqui Valley
Other Whites: Anakena Roots of the Andes Single Vineyard Viognier 2007 – Rapel, Alto Cachapoal
Pinot Noir: Anakena Ona Pinot Noir 2007 – Rapel, Alto Cachapoal
Carmenère: Arboleda Carmenère 2006 – Colchagua
Syrah: Viña Mayu Reserve Syrah 2006 – Elqui Valley
Red Blend: Viña La Rosa Ossa 6th Generation 2004 – Cachapoal
Cabernet Sauvignon: Tabontinaja Gillmore Hacedor del Mundos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005 – Maule
Best in Show: Viña La Rosa Ossa 6th Generation 2004 – Cachapoal
Best value white: Falernia Alta Tierra Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – Elqui Valley
Best value red: Luis Felipe Edwards Reserve Cabernet 2006 – Colchagua
Written by Beverley Blanning MW