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South American old-vine reds: Panel tasting results

In such a wide-ranging tasting, high scores across the board showed that South America’s old-vine wines are now decidedly coming into their own.

Alistair Cooper MW, Dirceu Vianna Junior MW and David Williams tasted 116 wines, with 8 Outstanding and 70 Highly Recommended.

South American old-vine reds panel tasting scores

116 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 8

Highly recommended 70

Recommended 34

Commended 3

Fair 1

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their red wines from any South American country, from any grape and vintage, and composed of single varietals or blends with the proviso that all blend components are from old vines aged 30 years or more

When you have old vines, you have heritage in your hands. With that heritage comes a responsibility to do the absolute best with what you have inherited.’ So said judge Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, adding: ‘Judging by this tasting, they are doing a phenomenal job in South America.’

Old vines are a hot topic in wine circles. One of the most discussed issues (among many) is their potential for resilience in the face of climatic adversity. Old vines appear to be better equipped to deal with climatic extremes such as drought and floods – understandably an extremely relevant issue.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for the top-scoring South American old-vine red wines

The top-scoring South American old-vine reds:

The judges

Alistair Cooper MW is a wine consultant, writer, broadcaster and educator with a particular focus on South America. President of the Cata d’Or wine awards in Chile, he is also consultant wine buyer for United Cellars in Sydney.

Dirceu Vianna Junior MW is a wine writer, consultant, educator and broadcaster. Moving to the UK in 1989, he spent much of his career as wine director for some of the UK’s most prominent wine distributors, and in 2008 he became the first South American male to obtain the Master of Wine title.

David Williams is a regular contributor to Decanter, wine correspondent for The Observer, deputy editor of The World of Fine Wine, and a columnist for trade magazine The Wine Merchant.

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