You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Friday 3 July 2015

Chile shows adventurous approach

31st October, 2013 by Gabriel Stone

Santa Rita Estates is using its new top end Petite Sirah blend Bougainville to highlight the “tremendous” opportunity for Chile to broaden its fine wine perspective.

Santa Rita technical director Andres Ilabaca shows off the Bougainville vineyards and soil

Santa Rita technical director Andres Ilabaca shows off the Bougainville vineyards and soil

Speaking at the wine’s official launch earlier this month, Hector Torres, director of luxury wines for Santa Rita Estates, argued that the country should look beyond a traditional focus on Bordeaux varieties for its top end wines.

Although Pinot Noir is also an increasingly common Chilean fine wine focus, he remarked: “We think the potential for the category is still quite open, both for Santa Rita and Chile as a country. There is a vast array of regions and varieties, different clones, different terroirs and we’re permanently looking at all these to see what could be the opportunity to develop a new icon wine. The more we can elevate the category, the better for the industry.”

While noting that with its Casa Real, Pehuen and Triple C wines, Santa Rita Estates has already covered off top end examples of Chile’s more familiar Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and blended approaches, Torres stressed the originality of Bougainville, which it first showed at Vinexpo earlier this year. “This is a unique wine, one that nobody else has in Chile or South America. I think that the opportunity is tremendous,” he said.

With 41 hectares of Petite Sirah planted across Maipo and Colchagua, Santa Rita claims around 22% of Chile’s estimated total 188ha plantings of this variety.

Despite its relatively small presence in Chile, Torres highlighted the growing popularity of Petite Sirah in the US, where it is found not just in California and Washington State but also on the East Coast in Maryland and Virginia. “It’s growing very quickly in the US, about 30% a year,” he claimed, reporting total US Petite Sirah plantings of 3,502ha.

For all the growing popularity of Petite Sirah in the US, which is also one of Chile’s largest export markets, Torres suggested that it would be “challenging” to build large scale success with Bougainville here. Although noting “The main advantage is that they are more familiar with the grape,” he added: “but it’s difficult too as it’s different to what they are used to.”

Turning to Brazil, an increasingly important market for Chile’s top end wines, Torres described the market as “a big question mark” as a result of the grape variety’s lack of familiarity here. He cited this issue as an obstacle in Asia, although added: “We may get some help from Australia as they have some success with this variety and Australian wines are quite well known in Asia.”

However, offering a final prediction on the most promising markets for the new wine, Torres suggested: “Canada should be important,” adding: “I think in the UK too we can be quite successful.”

With an RRP of around £60, Bougainville features Petite Sirah grown on pergola-trained vines in the Alto Jahuel sub-region of Maipo, with Syrah from Limari making up 15% of the final blend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Constellation to buy Meiomi for $315m

Constellation Brands is to buy Napa-based wine brand Meiomi for $315 million, more...

Vinadeis unveils Languedoc 'black diamonds'

One of France’s largest wine producers has launched a high-end Languedoc more...

WOSA woos UK indies and on-trade

Wines of South Africa has announced plans for a new UK trade tasting later this more...

International Business Development Assistant

London, United Kingdom

To be determined, based on the profile and experience of the candidate

Bordeaux wine thieves found guilty

A French court has sentenced 15 men over the audacious theft of $1.1 million of more...

Wine thieves go on trial

A gang of wine thieves accused of stealing a million euros worth of wine from more...

MMD bolsters Italian portfolio with Mazzei

Maisons Marques et Domaines has extended its Italian portfolio with the more...

Chilean brand looks back to move forward

Chilean producer Santa Carolina has launched an “icon” wine with a more...

Parker retrospective boosts 05 Palmer

Château Palmer’s 2005 is the latest wine from that vintage to see an more...

Castel feeds aperitif thirst

Europe’s largest wine producer, Castel, has unveiled a raft of new products more...

Business Development Executive

London, United Kingdom

£25-£30K + benefits, depending on experience

Bordeaux 2005: Biggest movers

Expectation surrounding the 2005s is building and pushing up prices for top more...

Cockburn’s wins the boat race

Cockburn’s has won the 2015 Barcos Rabelos race, featuring the boats that more...

Yealands sells majority stake

Yealands Family Wines' owner Peter Yealand has agreed to sell 80% of the more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Australia puts quality centre stage

Wine Australia has pledged to invest AUD$35m annually for the next five years more...

Bilingual 'tool' demystifies wine tasting

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority has developed a new "tool" which more...

Copa América: Malbec vs Carmenère

Saturday sees Chile and Argentina go head-to-head in football’s Copa América more...

PR Manager

Competitive

Top 10 wines in the US press

An impressive Tannat-Merlot-Zinfandel blend from Uruguay and a Vernaccia from more...

Rise for Haut Bailly in Liv-ex 2015 classification

Liv-ex’s bi-annual “re-classification” of Bordeaux saw Haut Bailly leap more...

China’s Ningxia region launches wine contest

Select winemakers will have the chance to travel to China to learn from its more...

Digital and Communications Executive

£22,000-£26,000 dependent on experience

Santa Rita launching new Irish campaign

Chilean wine producer Santa Rita Estates is spending €500,000 on a new more...

Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines more...