South America 1999: Keep
Ripe, dense, flavourful wines with firm tannins and good structure – especially from Chile. Just has the edge on the 1997 vintage.
The vintage featured drought conditions, with a hot growing season that led to harvesting super-ripe grapes under ideal weather conditions. Early picking went to plan, though late picking in Argentina was hit by drizzle, then rain. Some growers saw mildew in Chile for what seemed like the first time ever.
Chilean producers from the southern valleys felt more comfortable this year. Lontue, Bio-Bio and Maule all looked happier and more prosperous than their northern counterparts. In Argentina, the Uco Valley, with its Tupungato and Tunuyn sub-regions, fared well.
Valdivieso, Errazuriz (with its joint ventures included) Casa Lapostolle (now a must, especially with the appearance of the magical Clos Apalta), Montes Alpha, Torres (try the Maquehua), Rothschild, Concha y Toro, Finis Terrae, Catena, Norton, La Agricola, Etchart.