Chile’s winemakers ‘erasing’ terroir18th August, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
Chilean producers’ historic emphasis on trying to emulate Bordeaux, coupled with too much interference from the country’s winemakers, is “erasing terroir”, believes Pedro Parra.
During a discussion with the drinks business last month in Chile, the country’s revered soil and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra expressed his frustration at the lack of site expression in Chilean wines, which he initially said was due to producers’ cellar practices.
“I can do blind tastings to show that Chile has wines from fantastic terroirs based on great geology, but, despite having so many different terroirs, the wines taste the same because the human factor is so important in Chile: the winemakers want to be the first actor, they want to be present, and they are erasing the terroir.”
Parra also told db that a strong French influence in the country has encouraged too great a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon blends, which has come at the expense of developing the possibilities for Mediterranean grapes, which, he stated, may be better suited to Chile’s climate and soils.
The historical presence of the “French bourgeoisie” around Santiago as well as the high number of Chilean winemakers who have studied in Bordeaux have ensured that “Chile has been very Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot country”, according to Parra.
“That has made it very boring in my view and not orientated for terroir,” he commented.
Continuing, he said, “We don’t have a lot of terroirs for Cabernet Sauvignon, and I’d love to see more Spanish and Italian grapes here.”