South America 2007 : Keep
Chile has the edge with well flavoured, vibrant wines, fresh and elegant yet rich too, with good ageing potential. Good to very good fresh, well-flavoured, lower alochol reds from Argentina.
After a wet winter, budbreak was up to two weeks early in Chile, though heavy rainfall in October disrupted grape set and reduced yields by 15-35% on 2006. A mild, dry growing season followed, permitting slow, steady maturation, while calm weather March/April allowed for extra hang time in cooler regions and of later-ripening varieties. Generally, harvesting was around two weeks later than usual.
Summer temperatures and rainfall varied more widely in Argentina, while hailstorms mid-summer damaged some top sites in southern Mendoza. Uco Valley’s rainy February and wet March delayed both ripening and picking, as did rains in San Juan. Mendoza, too, saw a tricky and prolonged harvest, well into April, when a stretch of dry, warm weather repaid more patient growers. Patagonia fared better: summer was long, cool and dry, though early frost affected the Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall yield was 75% that of 2006.
Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère all fared well in Chile. The wines are rich, fine-textured, well-structured, with lower alcohol, lots of fresh natural acidity and soft tannins. They’re approachable young, though the best will age well for up to 12 years. Warmer sites like Apalta have produced well-balanced reds, while Maipo’s Cabernets combine and concentration.
Argentina’s sunny spell in late March helped boost flavour development and the best wines have an impressive concentration of tastes and aromas, as well as lower alcohol. La Rioja’s higher sited Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot stand out, as do Salta’s Tannat, Malbec and Syrah (lots of complexity). Merlot, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Syrah and Bonarda are stars of northern Mendoza, while Merlot stands out in the south; Cabernet Sauvignon is close behind. Uco’s Malbec is ripe, concentrated and spicy, while Cabernet Franc shows exceptional ripeness. Patagonia’s Pinot Noir,
Merlot, Malbec, Syrah are worth looking out for.
CHILE: Kingston Family Vineyards, Viña Casablanca (Casablanca Valley), Concha y Toro (Rapel & Casablanca Valleys), Emiliana, (Rapel Valley), O’Fournier, Castillo de Molina, Palo Alto (Maule Valley), Viña Casa Tamaya, Maycas del Limari, Tabali (Limari Valley), Chocolan, Viña Perez Cruz (Maipo Valley), Errazuriz, Augustinos (Aconcagua Valley), Viña Leyda (Leyda Valley), Luis Felipe Edwards, Viu Manent, Calitera, Viña Bisquertt (Colchagua Valley), San Pedro (Cachapoal), Casa Lapostolle, Viña Montes (Apalta), Mayu (Elqui Valley), Korta (Lontué Valley).
ARGENTINA Achaval-Ferrer, Dominio Del Plata, Alta Vista, Ojo de Vino, Bodega Goulart, Argento (Mendoza); Bodega Colomé (Calchaqui Valley); Luca (Uco Valley); Bodega Noemia de Patagonia; Andean Vineyards (San Juan).