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Chile & Argentina: The Rise of Pinot Noir

Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 Regional Chairs Peter Richards MW and Paz Levinson comment on the continuous growth and potential of wines from Argentina and Chile, looking to Pinot Noir as an example of this...

As results for the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards near – due on 22 September on Decanter.com – a look back at the 2019 results highlights Pinot Noir’s improving quality and continued potential.

DWWA 2020 Regional Chairs Peter Richards MW and Paz Levinson look to Chile and Argentina for ever-improving quality and a continuous exploration of terroir. Where red varieties such as Malbec, Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon thrive, there is still room for discovery, and Pinot Noir is just coming into its own.

Peter Richards MW, returning DWWA 2020 Regional Chair for Chile comments, ‘Chile is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic and exciting wine scenes on the planet right now. It’s almost impossible to keep pace with the burgeoning diversity and quality – that’s what makes it exciting to judge and catch up on at DWWA.’

Peter Richards MW at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards

‘Progress isn’t always linear, though’ continues Richards. ‘Pinot Noir is a grape that everyone got excited about before realising how hard it was to make really well. Only now, after a couple of decades of serious Pinot ambition, are we starting to see world class examples emerging. But how exciting they are…’

On Argentina, Paz Levinson, new DWWA 2020 Regional Chair for Argentina says, ‘What I love about Argentina is the unique character that the wines have. I love the creativity of the winemakers, their curiosity and endless explorations.

‘We don’t have a tradition that imposes a unique style, so we are quite free to explore what the terroirs of Argentina can give. Today we can identify different terroirs while tasting and have a deep understanding of the great wines Argentina is making, and at very competitive prices.’

Read more: DWWA 2020 Interview with Paz Levinson on Argentina

The 17th Decanter World Wine Awards judging month highlights

Ahead of judging at DWWA Levinson adds, ‘This is a very special year. It is not only challenging for the judges, but also for the wines. I’m looking forward to tasting all of the wines that have been stored over some extra months; this will give roundness and balance to many of them. For Argentina this will be beneficial.’

Results for the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards, including Pinot Noir from Chile and Argentina, will be available on Decanter.com from 22 September.

DWWA 2019: Top Pinot Noir wines from Argentina and Chile

Condeminal, Poncho Pampa Crianza, Tupungato, Argentina 2018

96 points, Gold
N/A UK #condeminal
Tobacco, earthy and floral nose with flavours of ripe red fruits, forest floor and resinous herbs. Fairly resolved for how young it is, with chalky tannins and refreshing acidity. Great development potential. Brilliant wine! Alc 13.5%

Undurraga, Trama, San Antonio, Chile 2016

96 points, Gold
POA Hallgarten Wines
Now this is special! herbs. The palate is perfectly pitched, boasting a core of vibrant energy, simultaneously crunchy and gently bittersweet. Food-friendly with great potential for development. Alc 13.5%

Casablanca, Nimbus Single Vineyard, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2016

95 points, Gold
N/A UK www.casablancawinery.com
Seductive aromatics of wild herb, toasty warm spice and sappy red fruit lead to a palate dressed with elegant summer fruit and a pristine acidity. Alc 14%

Cono Sur, Ocio, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2016

94 points, Silver
£42 Penistone Wine Cellars
Opulent and inviting with notes of coffee, raspberry compote and toast, while bittersweet red fruit and pepper shape the palate. Alc 13.9%

Apaltagua, Colección Limited Edition, San Antonio, Chile 2017

91 points, Silver
£17.95 (2016) Waddesdon Wines
Heady with opulent bramble, red rose floral notes and woodsmoke on the nose, spiced vanilla and plump dark cherry on the palate. Alc 14%

Atamisque, Serbal, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina 2018

91 points, Silver
£14.55-£15.90 Christopher Piper, Drinkmonger, Fortnum & Mason, Jaded Palates, Master of Malt, Speciality Drinks, Starmore Boss, Taste Argentina, Vegan Wine Box
Vibrant red fruits and red flowers jump out of the glass, followed by juicy sweet fruit on the palate – cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry and strawberry. Long, aciddriven finish. Very drinkable. Alc 13.5%

Casas del Bosque, Gran Reserva, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2017

91 points, Silver
£16.80 ABS Wine Agencies
Shows plush, sappy redcurrant and raspberry aromatics, while the bittersweet red-fruit palate is framed with a bright, neat acidity. Alc 13.7%

Marks & Spencer, Tierra Y Hombre, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2018

91 points, Silver
£7 Marks & Spencer
Herbaceous and lifted, with leafy herb-tinged red fruit and resin leading to a palate filled with crunchy fruit and heady smoke. Alc 13.5%

Salentein, Finca La Pampa Lot Series Barrel Selected, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina 2017

91 points, Silver
N/A UK www.bodegasalentein.com
High-quality oak is apparent on the nose and is well integrated on the palate which explodes with cherries, strawberries and cranberries, followed by a long, sweet, vinous finish. Alc 13.5%

DWWA 2019: 90-point Pinot Noir from Argentina & Chile

Alto de Casablanca, Ritual, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2017

90 points, Silver
£14.50-£16 Elicite, Oddbins, Soho Wine Supply
Lifted and inviting aromatics of darktoned cherry and lifted florals, while the bright palate is brimming with smooth red berries. Alc 13.5%

Cono Sur, 20 Barrels El Triángulo Estate, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2017

90 points, Silver
£16 Ocado, Tesco
Heady with perfumed layers of bold, dark raspberry and lifted herbal aromas, while the savoury palate is laced with fresh, juicy fruit. Alc 14.3%

Errazuriz, Aconcagua Costa, Aconcagua Valley, Chile 2017

90 points, Silver
£16-£18 Banstead Vintners, Cheers, Dulwich Vintners, Kingsgate Wines, The Oxford Wine Co
Delicate and restrained aromas of red cherry, woodsmoke and lush strawberry lead through to a crunchy, bittersweet summer-fruit palate. Alc 13.5%

Falernia, Gran Reserva, Elqui Valley, Chile 2017

90 points, Silver
N/A UK www.falernia.com
Sappy, with earthy redcurrant and hot cherry fruit on the nose, dried floral notes, while the smoky palate is laced with tense sour cherry. Alc 14%

Familia Schroeder, Saurus Select, Patagonia, Argentina 2018

90 points, Silver
£15.65-£19.99 Exel, Liquorice, Taurus Wines
Streaming with red fruits – strawberry, cherry and cranberry – with a focused acid backbone and crunchy texture. Very rich, tasty and enjoyable. Alc 14%

Morrisons, Single Vineyard, Aconcagua Valley, Chile 2015

90 points, Silver
£10 Morrisons
Heady, lifted aromas of herbal red summer fruit lead on to a savoury palate that’s underpinned by fresh, cleansing acidity. Alc 13.5%

Ventisquero, Herú, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2016

90 points, Silver
£23.99 Soho Wine Supply
Sophisticated aromatics of baked cherry and pepper, softly spiced palate with bright high-toned raspberry. Alc 13.5%

See all results from DWWA 2019

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