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Chile & Argentina Wine Tasting

University Club

Cory Hart

on 10 June 2014

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Transcript of Chile & Argentina Wine Tasting

How to Taste:
Primary Argentine Grapes
Native Vine of Argentina
Thrives in High Elevations
Three Varieties
Torrontes Riojano (most common)
Torrontes Sanjuanino
Torrontes Mendocino
All 3 are separate crossings of Mission & Muscat of Alexandria
There is a Galician (Spain) grape called Torrontes
Thought for years to be origin of Argentine grape, but DNA evidence proved no relation
(think Muscat & Gewurtz)
Torrontes Riojano
La Rioja (
Salta (
Torrontes Sanjuanino
San Juan (
Torrontes Mendocino
Rio Negro (
1560s - 1580s
1500s - 1st vines planted by Spanish immigrants (1st cuttings coming from Chilean Central Valley)
construction of complex irrigation channels & dams from melting glaciers of the Andes
expansion of railway
incorporation of Patagonia
new agricultural lands brought immigrants
Originally brought from Italian immigrants
originates from Piedmont in NW Italy
2nd most planted red variety in Argentina
mostly in Mendoza region
Enjoys lower, warmer altitude
Tasting Notes:
•Dark color
•Dark plum, fig and currant aromas with cocoa, chocolate and hints of licorice
•Juicy acidity
•Soft tannins
By far most popular grape of Argentina
Brought in mid-19th c. from France (SW & Bordeaux)

Didn't rise to prominence until shift to quality production (late 20th c.)
premium production for export

Mendoza is heart of quality Malbec production
high altitude

Argentine Malbec wine is characterized by its deep color and intense fruity flavors with a velvety texture
More Recent History
1980-90s - Transition from Quantity of Quality (internal consumption)
36% vineyards removed
until 90s, Argentina produced more wine than any country outside Europe (now 5th largest)

1990s - deregulation
$1.3 billion injected into agriculture & winemaking

Devaluation of peso in 2002
production costs decreased, tourism significantly increased
Climate and Geography
1st Vineyards by Spanish Conquistadors around 1554

Vineyards restricted, told to buy wine from Spain
trip from Spain wasn't kind to wine
1641 - Chilean imports into Spain were banned
Chileans mostly ignored restrictions, even started exporting to Peru
Englishman Francis Drake captured a shipment, indictment sent to Chile to uproot most of their vineyards
Again, mostly ignored

Although politically linked to Spain, wine influenced by France
particularly Boredeaux
Phylloxera positive for Chilean wine industry (french winemakers traveled to Chile bringing experience and techniques)
Sauvignon Blanc
In late 20th century, authenticity of Sauv Blanc was doubted
lacked many of characteristics and typicity of those grapes
Sauv blanc vines were found to actually be Sauvignonasse (Sauvignon vert) (mutated Sauv blanc/semillion cross)
In late 20th century, authenticity of Merlot was doubted
lacked many of characteristics and typicity of those grapes
Merlot was found to be ancient Bordeaux wine grape Carmenere that was thought to be extinct.
Cabernet Sauvignon
Chile’s star grape
by far most widely planted grape
Made its way from France in the mid-19th century.
quickly became a favorite of local (& later international) consumers. Flexible attributes enticing

Grows in all but the coldest of Chilean climates, this late-ripening grape truly flourishes in vineyards in Aconcagua, Maipo, Cachapoal, and Colchagua
warm, dry climate allows it to ripen thoroughly and develop rich aromas and flavors

Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon ranges in style from simple, fruity, friendly wines to big, bold wines full of concentrated fruit
Climate and Viticulture

cool temperatures = slow ripening
develops fully & maintains acidity
larger diurnal swings
difference between daytime & nighttime temperatures
world's highest vineyards
300+ days of sun each year
allows fruit to fully ripen
avg 4-8in rain per year
irrigation from Andes
Dry climate = healthy grapes
no mold or disease
Low Rainfall, Low Humidity
1873 - 5,000 acres
1893 - 25,000 acres
Early 1900s - 519,800 acres

Atacama Desert
Pacific Ocean
Andes Mountains
Patagonian Ice Fields
Geographic barriers help protect against disease and pests
Mediterranean climate
warm, dry summer; cold, rainy winter
Big diurnal temprature differences
cabernet loves this
Most viticulture in valleys, but trend towards higher elevations
Ungrafted Roots
no phylloxera!
Geography and soil composition create sustainabile viticulture
One of 2 dominant white grapes (Chardonnay)
Typical characteristics of Chilean Sauv Blanc:
Highly aromatic, citrus fruits, green apple, crisp pear, refreshing green-grassy aroma perhaps a stony, steely mineral edge
Chile's signature grape
Deep, dark, purple. Needs long growing season
Typical characteristics of Chilean Carmenere:
Rich in berry fruits and spice (think blackberries and black pepper), with smooth, well-rounded tannins
Recent Developments
Between 1938-1974
creation of new vineyards and importation of new wine making technologies was banned by Chilean gov't
heavy taxes & social policies

global wine producers and investors
stability of economy
improvements in wine legislation & regulations
European & American Investments
Mondavi, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Torres

1990 - Return to Democracy
large investments and new technologies
growth in international markets
Full transcript