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Wines of Chile president backs Carmenère

The president of trade body Wines of Chile has called on the country’s winemakers to make more use of the Carmenère grape following years of research into the variety.

Mario Pablo Silva has warned winemakers not to “miss the opportunity” to get the best out of the variety (Photo: Wines of Chile)

Mario Pablo Silva, president of Wines of Chile and managing director of Colchagua Valley winery Casa Silva, said the grape is “going to help define Chilean winemaking in the future and will bring uniqueness to our wines.”

His backing of the grape follows a five-year research project to identify the best Carmenère clone for Chilean winemaking.

Silva said: “It is now time for Chile to embrace Carmenère’s potential. Not only is it a unique variety to our country, it can make truly world-class wines, whether varietal or blends.”

He has called on producers to “get the best out of the variety” and help to discover the best terroirs in the country that help to “optimise its natural characteristics.”

The grape is best known for its deep colour, elegance, structure, plentiful soft tannins and concentrated flavours, Silva said.

“If we don’t, we are missing the opportunity to gain our rightful place on the lists of Britain’s best retailers and restaurants,” he warned, with an eye to Chile’s biggest export market.

The Genoma Research project findings, which will be presented in the UK next year, studied 42 different phenotypes of Carmenère that were planted in a special experimental vineyard at Viña Casa Silva’s Los Lingues estate in the foothill of the Andes.

Experts from the University of Talca, the University Federico Santa Maria, the INIA and the Max Planck Institute of Germany worked under the direction of Mario Geisse, technical director and winemaker at Viña Casa Silva, to conduct the research.

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