Tim Atkin made a presentation about the Wines of Chile highlighting the dynamism and terroir of Chilean wines and the winemakers’ increasing ability to exploit the climatic and topographical diversity of the country.
Chile is the world’s longest country with a length of 4270 km from north to south, and -on average- just 177 km in diameter. Rain varies between 50mm and 1500mm per year – not to mention the impact of El Nino and La Nina weather patterns and huge variation between the cool Pacific ocean and the warmer Andes.
Chile winemaking has changed dramatically over the years. 1997 was the start of a big change. People went to higher alcohol, later picking, green harvesting and leaf plucking. And there was a lot of influence by certain American critics. Since about 2010/2011, Chile has come back from that. The current style develops more freshness or balance, with less new wood – or the new oak is extremely well used – and show more of a sense of place.”
Atkin wrote an extensive report for which he tasted 1,197 wines, mostly on a visit to Chile in December 2019 where he travelled from the Atacama desert in the north to the world’s most southerly commercial vineyard in Chiloé.
Referring to the report as a “sincere, deep and professional testimony essential for any expert or Chilean wine lover”, commercial director at Wines of Chile, Angelica Valenzuela, said: “Tim has made a spectacular journey through our country, from the confines of Atacama Desert to Patagonia. Sharing his remarks on wines from Huasco Valley, Maipo Valley, Colchagua Valley, Itata Valley and the Bío Bío Valley, among others. From this he selected almost 700 which scored 90 points or more to feature in the report, which runs to a huge 55,000 words and is regarded as a benchmark for the wines of Chile. Perhaps the most out there wine, however, remains Vina Ventiquero’s Tara Chardonnay, planted in the Atacama desert.
About recent harvests Atkin said: “2016 was wet and cold, a tricky vintage, almost ‘European’. 2017 was very hot with some fires in coastal areas. 2018 was brilliant, it produced some really goods wines: cool, dry, balanced, historic. 2019 saw drought with heat in summer, while 2020 was a very early vintage – thank goodness in some ways because Covid made it difficult to harvest the grapes and work in the wineries.
The full report is available through timatkin.com,
Chile is also the first country to get a dedicated Vinexion Ambassador who will be the contactperson for (future) Vinexion members. We will present him very soon!