Could Syrah and Grenache be Chile’s ‘next Cabernet’?

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Drinks: Drinks, Wines

Every restaurant in the country has a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. But perhaps it’s time to make room for an extra listing: Chilean Rhone varieties.

‘We will be seeing more and more Grenache coming out of Chile,’ said Juan Pablo Quijada, commercial director of winery MontGras. ‘It used to be used like País for bulk wine, but more of those producers in the south are bottling it as a varietal wine.’

As well as these older vines being bottled as varieties, according to Quijada, a growing number of producers have also been experimenting with new plantings of the grape over the last decade, and these vines are now becoming fully productive.

It is, he says, a similar story with Syrah, with plantings growing at 20% a year.

‘It’s probably the easiest variety to grow in the whole of Chile, far easier than Pinot Noir or Carmenere,’ he told Imbibe. ‘It works everywhere from Leyda to Colchagua and in the south, too. You will see a whole lot of Syrah in the years to come.’

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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