What to drink this week

Chile re­vis­ited

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

The Chilean wine in­dus­try has come a long way in the past 20 years or so. There were al­ways good-value Caber­net Sau­vi­gnons from large con­cerns such as Con­cha y Toro, but Chile used to strug­gle to con­vince the world that it could break the qual­ity bar­rier and pro­duce bot­tles of real dis­tinc­tion and char­ac­ter from in­di­vid­ual ter­roirs. Chilean wine law, which only al­lows min­i­mal ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­tinc­tion—first of all, very large com­munes and, now, the three broad terms Costa, En­tre Cordilleras and An­des—didn’t help.

The Chilean wine land­scape is shift­ing, in­sists Harry Eyres

Why you should be drink­ing them

De­spite these ob­sta­cles, a few com­pa­nies have worked hard to give nu­ance and com­plex­ity to the Chilean wine land­scape. None has been more in­no­va­tive than Er­rázuriz, headed by the like­able Ed­uardo Chad­wick, with the tal­ented Fran­cisco Baet­tig as chief wine­maker. Er­ráruriz’s his­toric base is in the Aconcagua Val­ley, north of San­ti­ago; it also makes ex­cit­ing wines from Aconcagua Costa, close to the Pa­cific, and the much­lauded Viñedo Chad­wick from Maipo.

What to drink

Chilean whites have failed to ex­cite me much over the years, but things are chang­ing. Er­rázuriz Sin­gle Vine­yard Costa Sau­vi­gnon Blanc 2015 Aconcagua Val­ley (be­low, £11.99; www.wait­rose.com) has ex­otic ripeness and com­plex­ity on the nose, then sat­is­fy­ingly crisp acid­ity and length in the mouth—it’s ex­cel­lent value. The lovely Er­rázuriz Max Reserva Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon 2014 Aconcagua Val­ley (£12.99; www.wait­rose.com) has a fresh, in­tense to­bacco-and-black­cur­rant nose and very good in­ten­sity on the palate. At an al­to­gether higher level is Er­rázuriz Viñedo Chad­wick 2008 (£145; www.ox­ford­wine.co.uk): it is sub­tle, el­e­gant and beau­ti­fully fo­cused.

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