Chilean wines have a rap — not entirely unjustified — for being cheap, decent, and a little soulless. It's true that Chile is dominated by huge brands like Concha y Toro who crank out bulk product on an industrial scale, and that wine itself doesn’t really enjoy much of a domestic market, which means they’re largely made in a generic New World fruitbomb style — traits, all, that are anathema to a growing number of critics and sommeliers and wine drinkers. In fact, to a lot of people who know a lot about wine, Chile simply isn’t particularly relevant at the moment.
It’s no secret that Chile’s wine marketing board, Wines of Chile, has been on something of a charm offensive of late to try to reverse that perception, sponsoring hip, profile-raising events like Wine Bar War and nabbing a May ’14 Spectator cover lauding "The New Chile." And there have been other rumblings that have reached our ears: of old-vine, dry-farmed Carignan in the Maulé Valley. Of a young Burgundian doing crazy things with 200-year old Pais (Mission) vines nearby. Of a growing commitment to biodynamic farming practices, even among the big boys.
Color us intrigued. After spending the fall in the Alto Adige (sigh) and wintering in the Rhône (yum), we’re turning our spring focus — our first in the New World — on Chile — and what we're finding is that it deserves a lot more than just a dismissive ‘meh’.
We’re looking forward to showing you why throughout the spring.