Som­me­liers on South Amer­ica

What’s the next big trend in South Amer­i­can wine? Amanda Barnes talks to seven of the re­gion’s lead­ing som­me­liers to find out

Decanter - - RESTAURANTS -

NOT sO lONg ago, restau­rant din­ers in Buenos Aires and santiago would be of­fered a choice of two wines – red or white – and no one could tell you much about ei­ther. But since the first som­me­lier school opened in 1999, the rise of the somm in south Amer­ica has been hy­per­sonic. To­day you’ll find wine lists cat­e­gorised by mi­cro-re­gion, wine style or even soil type, and ev­ery­one has an opinion.

The role of the pro­fes­sional som­me­lier has be­come in­te­gral to winer­ies in Ar­gentina and Chile, while in the gas­tron­omy cap­i­tals of Peru and Brazil wine cul­ture is es­ca­lat­ing hand-in-hand with the renowned cui­sine. The new in­flux of im­ported wines and greater dis­sem­i­na­tion of wine com­mu­ni­ca­tion is giv­ing the new gen­er­a­tion an un­quench­able thirst for some­thing new, spawn­ing di­verse wine trends of which the som­me­liers are at the fore­front.

Marcelo Pino

Best Som­me­lier of Chile (2011, 2014) ‘There are many ex­cit­ing things hap­pen­ing all over south Amer­ica. Coun­tries in­clud­ing Peru, Bo­livia and even Ecuador are mak­ing in­ter­est­ing wines that will surely be as well known as Chilean and Ar­gen­tinian wines in the fu­ture. Brazil has great qual­ity sparkling wine and I think it will soon be known world­wide for its bub­bles. Although Uruguay hasn’t yet reached full force, it is a wine coun­try that prom­ises great things. I think the style of wine lead­ing the fu­ture is much purer, rep­re­sent­ing the ter­roir rather than a recipe, and high­light­ing both clas­sic va­ri­eties and less tra­di­tional va­ri­eties such as Chile’s Carig­nan, Carmenere and País.’

Gabriela Mon­teleone

Con­sul­tant som­me­lier, Brazil ‘I think the next trend in Brazil will be orange wines. There is a grow­ing group of wine­mak­ers in Brazil, Ar­gentina and Chile pro­duc­ing this style, so they will be eas­ier to find than be­fore. The nat­u­ral wine move­ment is also grow­ing in Brazil; this can be con­sid­ered a huge vic­tory for a coun­try which is so at­tached to the chem­i­cal in­dus­try. My favourite wines at the mo­ment are Peverella by Era dos Ven­tos from serra gaúcha in Brazil; Via Revolu­cionaria! Tor­rontés Bru­tal by Matías Miche­lini from Mendoza in Ar­gentina; and Rivera del Notro País by Roberto Hen­ríquez from Chile’s Itata re­gion.’

Joseph Ruiz Acosta

Cen­tral Res­tau­rante, Peru ‘There’s a small project in Cuzco with vines planted at 3,500m al­ti­tude, and with time I think we will see more wine­mak­ers in Peru fol­low­ing this di­rec­tion. The other in­ter­est­ing move­ment here is pro­duc­ers work­ing with pisco grapes to make wine.

‘The com­mer­cial pi­o­neer is Pepe Mo­quil­laza, who makes wine with the na­tive Que­branta grape – which is Peru’s most-planted va­ri­ety – and also with Al­billa, Italia and Ne­gra Cri­olla. Th­ese wines are re­ally food-friendly with low al­co­hol, no oak in­flu­ence and an in­ter­est­ing ter­roir. I think we will see more of th­ese wines show­ing an iden­tity of place in the fu­ture.’

Fed­erico de Moura

Best Som­me­lier of Uruguay (2015) ‘The next big thing in south Amer­ica is the grow­ing di­ver­sity of com­plex

white wines and world-class tra­di­tional method sparkling wines, es­pe­cially in Brazil, Uruguay and Chile. Uruguay is giv­ing us a lot to talk about with its fruity and ex­pres­sive Al­bar­iño, and Sauvi­gnon Blanc also has great po­ten­tial. We en­joy nat­u­rally high acid­ity in our white wines, with no need for correction, and our Sauvi­gnon Blanc is won­der­fully fruit­for­ward with a great ex­pres­sion of our cli­mate and soil – quite dif­fer­ent from the styles of New Zealand and Chile.’

Marcelo Pino Gabriela Mon­teleone Joseph Ruiz Acosta Fed­erico de Moura

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