Chile has a long history of grape growing, with the first vines having been brought over from Spain in 1551 – including varieties like País, Carignan, Cinsault and Semillon. Over time, these heritage vines were forgotten, even maligned, in favour of French varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, but recent years have seen a resurgence in Chile’s original plantings. The country has some extremely old vines to celebrate too, with old Semillon vines in the south of the country dating back two or even three hundred years.
In this week’s episode of The Drinking Hour, Alistair Cooper MW joins host David Kermode to discuss innovation and change in a country best know for its dependable, but not always exciting, winemaking. Cooper uses his experiences living in South America, and as a member of the IWSC‘s senior judging committee, to chart the changes in Chilean wine over the past decade, highlighting the rising trend of low-intervention methods and a focus on drinkability.
The pair discuss the merits of the new (or rather, old) wines of Chile, and whether they’ll be as much of a hit on supermarket shelves as the best-selling Cabernets coming out of the country.