When Jon Higgs, our Head of Private Client Sales, began his career in the wine industry, Chilean fine wine was practically unheard of. “For example, French wines proudly carried the name of the village or region they were made in and enjoyed global reputations, whilst Chilean wines simply displayed the name of the grape. It was just Chilean Merlot, or Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.” These were simple, no-fuss juice bombs that carried all the ease — and perhaps predictability — of a sunny South American climate.
However, fast forward to 2020 and we find Chile firmly on the map as a producer of truly world-class wines. On the back of Chile’s success on the high street, the country’s winemakers have achieved the financial flexibility to nurture their plantings and vineyards more closely; achieve greater quality through soil analysis and plot selection; and explore new ageing techniques. These improvements have resulted in some startlingly nuanced, finessed and highly revered vintages. “Chilean fine wines still have all the vibrant fruit you’d expect of South America,” says Jon Higgs. “But many now have an elegance which cannot be underestimated.”
Two leaders in the club of Chilean world-class wines are Vinedo Chadwick, situated in Puente Alto at the foot of the Andes Mountains, and Seña, a collaborative venture between famous winemakers Viña Errázuriz and Robert Mondavi. Seña sources its fruit almost exclusively from premium, biodynamically farmed plots in the Aconcagua region. These wines held their own against some of the top wines of Bordeaux and the best USA Cabernet Sauvignons when blind tasted at the recent Berlin Tasting, proving that Chilean wine has not only transcended the supermarket but also begun to play a major part on the world stage.