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Concha y Toro winemaker hails Chile’s new wine regions

A wave of vine plantings in new regions is making Chile one of the most dynamic wine producing nations in the world, Concha y Toro winemaker Marcelo Papa has argued.

Many regions in Chile are only on the brink of being discovered by foreign consumers, according to Papa, who is winemaker for Concha y Toro’s Marques de Casa Concha range.

‘The Chilean wine you see in the supermarkets is very classic, but if you see the work that we are doing in the country, then I think we are one of the most dynamic,’ Papa told decanter.com in London this week, where he also introduced journalists to the new Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection range.

He highlighted the northern area of Limari, already achieving acclaim among critics and which now supplies 60% of Concha y Toro’s Chardonnay. Only seven years ago, Casablanca Valley supplied all of the firm’s Chardonnay.

‘In Limari, we are just starting,’ Papa said. ‘Fifteen years ago, it was only people growing pisco. Over the next years, it will start to be a large area for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.’

But, lack of water is a key problem for the area. For this reason, Papa also expects plantings to increase in the south of the country, where water availability is likely to be higher.

‘With global warming, I think we will have more opportunities in the south,’ said Papa, adding that, while scientists have not seen temperatures rise significantly in the country, rain is becoming less and less frequent.

Papa also highlighted strong potential for Cabernet Sauvignon in Cauquenes province in the Maule region, although Puente Alto still represents the pinnacle of Chilean Cabernet for now.

In terms of varieties, Papa said he sees a revival of Carignan in the country, as well as rising potential for Syrah, Malbec, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Pinot Grigio. However, he added that, in the main, ‘Chile will still be known for French classic varieties’.

In the UK, Concha y Toro is preparing to launch Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection, set to be priced at around £8.99.

The range consists of a white blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Gewürztraminer, and a red blend of 60% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Carmenere.

Last week, Concha y Toro group reported that net sales for the first half of its fiscal year, to the end of June, crept up by 0.7% versus the same period of last year, to CLP201.3bn (GBP252.8m)

However, second quarter sales dipped by 0.8% and half-year net profits sank by 38% to CLP8.7bn after the group was hit by a strike and the appreciation of the Chilean peso.

Written by Chris Mercer

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