The Bacchus Report: Chilean treasures
Written by: Libor Ševèík
Beyond the Andes an unbelievable wealth
of wines with great aromas and flavors are being prepared for the
world. Their burgeoning popularity may create concern for Europe's
traditionally favored vintners.
According to latest global wine market indicators and opinions
of experts, Chilean and Australian wines are currently becoming
the greatest surprise (and threat) to traditional wine-producing
countries. Across the Andes there exist ideal conditions for growing
enough first-rate grapes from which experts are able to prepare
new-generation wines: fresh, strictly varietal, delicious, sparkly,
filled with natural aromas and flavors. Over 100,000 hectares of
vineyards are carefully nurtured, and on them are raised the finest
clones of global varietals. Fashionable Chardonnay is of course
included, but unfortunately most wine producers are adapting it
to meet demand, aging it in California style - i.e., in new oak
barrels. But Chile's forte is red wines: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet
Sauvignon, and Syrah mature there beautifully. A specialty is the
old varietal Carmenere, which originated in the Bordeaux region
in France. In the aftermath of the catastrophe caused by phylloxera,
this varietal was not replanted by European vintners, but it survived
in Chile because the infection could not cross the ocean and the
Andes. Although the vines in Chile have been growing since the middle
of the sixteenth century, they were of poor quality, and only with
the arrival of new technologies and trained experts in the 1980s
did the character of local wines change, becoming delicacies much
The vines are grown in river valleys in the vicinity of Santiago,
where wine-producing areas are named after river valleys through
which water from high Andean glaciers flows. The best known are
the Acocagua and Casablanca Valleys, which lie to the north of the
capital and enjoy warmer climates (valleys further south are cooler).
While many Chilean wineries (Santa Helena, Viòa La Rosa, Valdivieso,
Errazuuris, Concha y Toro) are already well known, the good prospects
of Chilean wine making have attracted foreign investors as well,
from Robert Mondavi of California to Baron Rothschild of France
and Miguel Torres of Spain.
The author is the editor of Hospodáøské noviny's IN magazine.
world atlas of wine is probably the most complete publication
of its type on the Czech market. It explains all the secrets
of wine-making and drinking, and the back of the book contains
a vocabulary of useful wine terms. Published by Fortuna Print.
Price: CZK 1,490.
Vinotheka Archa, Vachova 6, Brno støed.
5-12 March - Week of Rýnský ryzlink wines. 12 wines of this variety
will be presented, and visitors will be charged according to number
of samples tasted. 18 March at the same venue an evening will be
devoted to combining spring dishes with wines. Tel: 542 215 136.
From the rather scanty selection of Chilean wines on our market
we selected four samples from three major producers that are worthy
Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon
2000, Concha y Torro
A dark, ruby-red wine whose aroma promises an extraordinary
experience. Chocolate tones blend pleasantly with the aroma
of ripe plums, and traces of vanilla denote its aging in
oak barrels. The flavor is harmonious, with a long-lingering
Available at: Bacchus, Nìvská 392, 196 00 Praha 9, tel.:
283 933 231. Recommended price: 649 Kè
||Trio Chardonnay 2000,
Concha y Torro
Flashes of gold in a crystal-clear wine, fruity nose
redolent of citrus, peaches, and bananas. Its flavor is harmonious,
elegant, and pleasant, with lingering notes that make you want
Available at: Bacchus, Nìvská 392, 196 00 Praha 9, tel.: 283
933 231. Recommended price: 499 Kè
Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2001,
Domaine Baron de Rothschild, Vina Los Vascos, Caliterra
A product of Baron de Rothschild, the owner of a famed winery
in Bordeaux, this wine is an excellent example of a varietal
wine that stands out for its elegance, full body, lovely
fruitiness and pleasing spiciness in both its aroma and
Available at: Global Wines, Václavské nám. 53, Praha 1.
Recommended price: 421 Kè
||La Misión Carmenere
2000 Vina William Févre
A varietal that is nearly unknown here, its aroma and
flavor are marked by the fruity tones of ripe grapes, with a
pleasant, almost surprising spiciness of fresh-ground white
Available at: Latina, Türkova 828, Praha 4, tel: 272 942 607.
Recommended price: 345 Kè