New Chilean classifications a ‘waste of energy’ according to Veramonte winemaker

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Drinks: Drinks
Location: Chile

Chile’s wine region sub-divisions have come under a blistering attack from one of the country’s most respected winemakers.

Rodrigo Soto, winemaker at Veramonte, told Imbibe the new classifications were ‘an oversimplification’ and a ‘waste of energy’.

Chile introduced the new sub-regions in 2011 in response to criticism that most of their wine regions were too big to be meaningful. The new legislation has meant that wineries are allowed to define their location not just by a particular appellation, but by whether it is in the foothills of the mountains (Andes), the central valley (Cordillera) or the coast (Costa).

Soto, however, who oversees 600ha of vines in Casablanca, Apalta and Marchihue, believes that the country has missed an opportunity.

‘If we are going to do it, we should go all the way and make new subdivisions,’ he says. ‘Things like ‘Maipo Andes’ are still generic. It’s just a waste of energy. Regionality is going to be the next big thing, so we should start to find new boundaries attached to the geography of the place.

‘[The new scheme] is too big – an oversimplification. There are other ways of doing it that are more meaningful.’

Soto points to the extensive work on soil and climate done by the Chilean ‘terroir consultant’ Pedro Parra. ‘We have all the tools to define sub-regions properly,’ says Soto. ‘I could easily define four sub-appellations in Casablanca Valley.

‘People are always worried that they will be in the second tier, but good appellations add value to the region.’

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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