Anthony flies to South America just in time for the harvest.

It’s the time of year when we are travelling the globe sourcing wines, catching up with our winemaking friends around the world and learning about the latest vintages as we go. Anthony left the cool Irish Winter and headed over to Chile and Argentina for a couple of weeks this month. His reams of tasting notes and thoughts have been slightly lost in translation, so we’re picking the best bits and filtering them into this blog… a whistlestop tour of his trip.

MARCH16

The ‘rivers’ of Mendoza

First up it was Argentina. Landing in Mendoza Anthony brought with him the worst rains the capital had seen in over 10 years. Lucky he packed his swimming trunks! Here’s a quick video of a ‘road’ in the what are normally arid vineyards! They had just started harvesting while Anthony was there, he took some notes!

Harvest notes:

  • Lots of rain in August and September with low temperatures mean poor flowering and fruit set.
  • Warm January/February with bouts of torrential rain (see photo). The heaviest, while Anthony was there have really threatened the harvest which is already a month late.
  • Yields and quality are set to be well below average and sorting will have to be meticulous.

Luckily for Chile Anthony left the rains on the other side of the Andes. He found happy harvesters looking forward to a protracted Autumnal vintage that although three weeks late due to a slow start is looking promising with good yields and even physiological ripeness.

Tasting Pais and Cinsault

Tasting Pais and Cinsault

Chile

Chile

 

Obviously there were many tastings of the old favourites: Emiliana’s wines (most notably Ge) had got even better, their biodynamic vineyard area even larger and their green ethos even stronger. This year however Anthony went slightly off piste and tasted outside the generic international styles coming across low sulphur wines and ancient varieties that have been revived for this new eclectic Chile!

Stars of the show at one tasting included Pais, Muscat and Cinsault cultivated by the Jesuits in the Itata Valley south of Maule Valley. The vineyards are 150 years old and have been reserved for domestic use until now. The purity, mineral depth and refreshing difference of these wines was outstanding and they will certainly be included in the parcel we’ll be bringing in later this year.

The afternoon at Vina Ventisquero Vineyard (following rambling text – suggestive of a good lunch with decent wine!) spoke of a Carmenere/Syrah blend from John Duval – pricey but excellent and the Pangeo – 100% Syrah – fresh, vibrant and pure.

Alpalta Vineyards

Alpalta Vineyards

Our Norwegian/ Chilean producers Odfjell were in good form with Dan following their recent coverage in an article by Julia Harding MW on Carignan in Chile .

Anthony and the Odfjell team

Anthony and the Odfjell team

Anthony with Dan Odfjell the founder of the winery

Anthony with Dan Odfjell the founder of the winery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harriet went on a trip to Chile four years ago and tried a selection of wines from MOVI – an alliance of independent producers. It opened her eyes to what Chile really can do! Four years on, with another member of the Tindal family sitting up and taking note (or in this case lots of notes) we should see some of these smaller production, more unique wines on the Irish market…. once they arrive we’ll be posting individual stories, pictures and tasting notes. Don’t you worry, you’ll hear more about Chile before 2016 is out!

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