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.’