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This blog site includes news on latest wines, food, events, offers and happenings at artisan & vine. It also includes stories of my wine adventures in and outside the bar, wine facts and wine profiles.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Wednesday wine tasting: Chilean wine

We try to mix things up from week to week at artisan & vine's Wednesday evening wine tastings. So, while last week we were in the Alsace and next week we're in Australia, today we're in Chile. The idea is that you could come to the bar every Wednesday and get a broad mix of flavours, stories and facts.

Before we zoom in on Chile, let's talk a little about South America, which, like most of the New World, is something we don't have a lot of at artisan & vine. This is not a deliberate choice. There are simply more natural wines from Europe available in London than there are from other regions.

South America is pretty exciting for the wine world because, although it's had wine grapes longer than any other part of the New World (since 1531), it's in its relative infancy on the global wine scene. Chile, although producing less wine than Argentina, was the first of the South American countries to make a meaningful entrance onto the world wine stage.

Isolated by the Pacific Ocean on the West and the Andes on the East, Chile produces pretty reliably healthy grapes. It's a good place for organic and biodynamic vineyards. This is a place where the days are particularly hot and the nights particularly cold, which is great for allowing a long, mature ripening of grapes - & so those fab fruity flavours!

Tonight we're going to be tasting wines from two Chilean producers. The first is Vina Von Siebenthal, headed by a former Swiss Lawyer now producing indulgently fruity wines in the Aconcagua Valley. We'll taste a pure Carmenere - a Bordeaux grape that has become almost synonymous with Chilean red wine; as well as a Bordeaux blend (Cabernet Franc, Melot and Cabernet Sauvignon). Bordeaux grapes have long been popular in Chile, though we're now starting to see other grapes such as Syrah, Pinot Noir and Riesling make their way down.

The second producer we'll be tasting is Clos Ouvert, headed by Burgundian wine maker Louis-Antoine Luyt. These wines are really exciting. In his recent visit to artisan & vine, Tim Atkin MW felt the same: "Just discovered Clos Ouvert from Maule at Artisan and Vine. The most exciting Chilean wines I have tasted in years. Wow!"

By way of contrast, we're going to taste a pure Carmenere from Clos Ouvert, as well as a Bordeaux blend, and then, most exciting I think, a 100% Pais wine. Pais is Chile's indigenous "peasant's grape"... you're going to love it!

We still have some spaces available at tonight's Chilean wine tasting. Email welcome@artisanandvine.com to sign up!

Image: the incredible Huasa 2008 from Clos Ouvert is 100% Pais and certainly worth a taste at artisan & vine!

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