Discovering 'New Wines' with a Long History
New World wines of South America are winning awards in the traditional
wine market. It shouldn't come as a surprise.
vines of Chile and Argentina were planted by missionaries who
came from Spain with the conquistadors in the mid-sixteenth
century. Vineyards were planted in 1551 and the first records
of wines being produced in Chile are from 1555.
country's population expanded, the wine production moved from
the church to European plantation owners. Wine production was
so successful by the early 1800s that the New World wines imported
to the Old World began to affect the Spanish wineries. The Spanish
government took action to protect the wine industry in Spain.
All across Mexico and South America vineyards were uprooted
and heavy taxes were placed on those remaining. This
all but destroyed the wine industry in Mexico, but Chile and
Argentina continued to produce wines commercially.
The Santiago winery of Concha y Toro was founded in 1883. Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc y Semillón
wines produced there are currently exported to 70 countries.
Many other labels from Chile are making an impression on the
international wine scene. Walnut Crest, Viña Cousiño
Macul, Viña Errázuriz, Viña Undurraga,
Viña Santa Carolina, Tarrapaca, Miquel Torres and Santa
Rita are just a few of the larger winery names. There are dozens
of smaller boutique wineries in Chile that export their wines.
almost half of all the grapes planted are Cabernet Sauvignon,
but other reds as well as whites are grown there. The best red
wines are from the Maipo and Colchaqua valleys. The Casablanca
valley is known for its white wines. Fine wines from Riesling,
Semillón, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Carmenère, Syrah,
Cabernet Franc, Verdot, Viogner, Gewürztraminer,Chenin
Blanc are all well represented in the wines exported from Chile.
such a good climate for grape vines that well known, international
labels such as Spain's Miguel Torres, France's Baron de Rothschild
and Chateau Lafite, and the U.S.' Robert Mondavi have established
relationships with Chilean vineyards. The Almaviva winery is
a cooperative operation pairing Concha y Toro with the house
of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The wine that is produced is
the only Chilean wine that is allowed to be sold on the Bordeaux
wine market in France!
The Malbec from the Mendoza area is Argentina's best known wine.
Although many will argue that Malbec is Argentina's finest grape
varietal, other reds and whites are being successfully introduced.
The wines of Argentina began at a disadvantage in the international
world of wines. Although Argentina is the 5th largest wine producer
in the world, most of the wines were made to be consumed in
the country. Argentinean wine did not match the tastes of wine
experts who favored European wines. This is no longer true...
of South America have altered their traditional methods to produce
wines that are making a very loud noise in the world of wine.
One review of Argentina's Catena Alta, Cabernet Sauvignon..."The
sheer magnificence of the deep velvet fruit, spice, length and
structure in Catena Alta, Cabernet Sauvignon is so seductive
as to almost indecent."
If you haven't
tried one of the top South American wines, get busy before they
start commanding prices comparable to wines from other areas!