Your book South American Wine, the Essential Guide, was an epic undertaking. Tell us what inspired it and what you found most surprising about Chile during your research and writing of the book.
What Inspired me was a confluence of factors, personal and professional. My daughter just got into a private university so I figured it was time to write my third book. Also, I had been back and forth to South America many times in the last four to five years and I found all of the changes very Interesting to note. Major change had taken place in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay. While thinking about what my next book would be, I decided it would be about these areas. No recent books had been written with fully updated information in my view.
My biggest aha moment was when I was tasting some of the wines and realized that they are more terroir driven wines and site specific wines being made now. We’re up to the 3.0 version of South American wines. We are now exploring terroitories that were a bit fringe, looking far south and even at stuff coming from Atacama. We can see how many different and clearly well made wines of place are coming out of Chile. Also, now capital is being made available through different avenues such as kickstarter campaigns. There are 230+ wineries now in Chile.
What trends do you see in South American wine?
First, individual countries are embracing their uniqueness. Historically they all thought that to be taken seriously meant that you had to create wines with international varietals. Now they realize that they need to look at what you they can do specifically. What could be better done with signature varieties such as Carmenere for Chile, Malbec for Argentina, Tannat for Uruguay, Brazil has many wonderful emerging Sparkling wines. Also they have an amazing array of unique grapes.
Second, everyone is trying to understand their unique terroir, Chile for example in Maipo, what they are doing with Alto Maipo, or in Aconcagua, with Coastal and Alta Aconcagua. The sub regional differences are becoming important.
Thirdly they are exploring new regions, moving north and south, Atacama in Chile, far south in Argentina, far east of Uruguay and in new areas in Brazil.
What was the last bottle of Chilean wine that you drank? Who did you share it with and what was the occasion?
Recently my wife and I had dinner with our neighbors, chef owner of The House in San Francisco, an Asian fusion restaurant, and we brought a bottle of Chilean wine, a bottle of Syrah.
Name a bottle of Chilean wine that has sung to you (You know, vibrated those ethereal wine vibes that left you gasping “what. is. this?!”)
Chardonnays from Limari have been amazing, Syrah from Coastal Casablanca, San Antonio and Choapa. Carmenere and Carmenere blends from Colcahagua have spoken to me.
Where do you turn to for your wine news? Which publication do you read in print and which digitally?
I subsribe to Wine Business Daily and Drinks Business Daily and that keeps me up to speed with what is going on. I also read Decanter, Wine & Spirits, and Jancis’ Purple pages
When is the South American Wine Conference
Stay tuned for more news from Full Circle Solutions later this year. I can tell you that the conference will be in May, 26-28 at the Mondrian Hotel in New York. We will have Master Classes and break out sessions as well as tastings at City Winery.
Interview by Susannah Gold
Evan Goldstein’s new book is available on Amazon.