Chile’s big guns enter sparkling market12th September, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Four of Chile’s most influential producers are set to launch traditional method sparkling wines onto the international market.
Errazuriz, Cono Sur, Concha y Toro and Montes all have traditional method sparklers in production set to fill a price gap between cava and Champagne.
Concha y Toro’s effort, Subercaseaux, made by chief winemaker Marcelo Papa, is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Limarí.
Cono Sur’s sparkler meanwhile, is made with grapes grown in the western part of the Casablanca Valley that also go into its 20 Barrels Chardonnay.
“The quality of the grapes is crucial for sparkling wine production. You can’t make good fizz without top grapes and these are exceptional, as the cool nights in Casablanca allow them to ripen very slowly,” Hurtado told the drinks business.
His blanc de blancs will be aged for two years before release in the UK in late 2015 at around £15 a bottle.
Aurelio Montes meanwhile has chosen to use Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the coastal region of Zapallar, 7km from the Pacific Ocean in the Aconcagua Valley.
The as yet unnamed wine, which spends a year on the less, is due to launch in the UK next Christmas at around £15 a bottle.
Montes plans to leave 1,000 of his 18,000-bottle debut vintage aside to age for a further four years to create “something really special.”
“Sales of sparkling wine are going crazy all over the world; it’s time for Chile to be part of the party,” Montes told db.
“2013 was a really good year for Chilean sparkling wine as it was cooler than normal and we picked late; the base wines are already showing really well,” he added.
Errazuriz’s chief winemaker Francisco Baettig is putting his faith in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Aconcagua Coast due to the minerality the region’s schist soils will impart in the wine.
He concedes however, that venturing into sparkling wine production is a risk that might not pay off and is adamant that the wine will not be released if it doesn’t reach the quality level he’s hoping for.
“The problem when you start a sparkling project is that you lack reserve wine, which is useful for adding extra complexity to the final blend,” he told db.
First out of the gate with what claims to be Chile’s inaugural “super-premium” sparkling wine is Casa Silva with Fervor, which is due to launch in the UK later this year at £25 a bottle.
A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the coastal regions of Lolol and Paredones in the Colchagua Valley, Fervor is aged on the lees for two years.
Viña Leyda meanwhile, launched its first fizz, Leyda Extra Brut, in the UK this month made from Chardonnay grown 12km from the Pacific Ocean.
In the last five years, global exports of Chilean sparkling wine have increased by 175% in volume and 195% in value.
The full feature on the Chilean sparkling wine boom appears in the September issue of The Drinks Business, out now.