It wasn't just for image and added value that the late Michael Cox, the charismatic director of Wines of Chile, did his utmost to get more Chilean wine on to the wine list. He organised a tasting of Chilean carmenère with curry to show what great bedfellows the two were. Continuing where he left off, Wines of Chile staged the Chile Sommelier Challenge in London this summer with the same aim.
Wine press and sommeliers tasted around a dozen wines in each of five main styles: sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, red blends, plus red wines and white wines by the glass. To spice up this blind tasting, a couple of ringers from other countries were cunningly inserted.
I didn't always agree with the winners, but I did in the case of the tropical and zesty 2012 Ventolera Sauvignon Blanc, £13.95, Fintry Wines, and the guava- and passion fruit-laden 2013 Leyda Single Vineyard Garuma Sauvignon Blanc, around £10.95, Great Western Wine, Swig. I also enjoyed what turned out to be a savoury and tangy 2013 Domaine Daulny Sancerre, £12.95, Haynes, Hanson & Clark. The winning chardonnay was the 2013 Chardonnay Viña Arboleda, but my top shaded it, the Cape's opulently peachy, complex 2012 Thelema Mountain Vineyards, around £14.95, Great Western Wine, Wimbledon Wine Cellar.
Top pinot noir, my third, was the summer puddingy 2012 Cono Sur Single Vineyard Block No 21 Pinot Noir, San Antonio, around £11.99, Wine Rack, Mumbles Fine Wine, while my choice was the smokily strawberryish 2012 Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Vineyard Pinot Noir, £19.48-95, Hic! Wines, Exel Wines, and the succulent 2013 Viña Arboleda Pinot Noir, Aconcagua. In the syrah category, Emiliana's 2010 Signos de Origen Syrah La Quebrada, was top, while mine was the 2011 Tamaya Syrah T Limited Release and my second the peppery-spicy kiwi, the 2012 Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah, £13.50-£14.89, The Wine Society, Adnams.
My favourite red blend was the moreish Maipo Colchagua/Maule blend 2011 Tutunjian Entre Valles, £21.99, Underwoods Wine Warehouse, Grape and Grain. In the case of white wine by the glass, I particularly liked the 2013 Signos de Origen White Blend La Vinilla', Viñedos Emiliana, around £12, D Byrne, Whole Foods Market and 2012 Indomita Duette Chardonnay, Casablanca, while my top red by the glass was the blackberry-spicy 2011 Concha y Toro Terrunyo Block 27 Carmenere, Cachapoal, £20-£25, Roberson, Tesco Wine by the Case. Did I mention the food? Alas, it was conspicuous by its absence, so I hope that next time round it makes an appearance. Wines without stockist info are not yet available I'm afraid to say.Reuse content