You recently won an award for your Wines of Chile book documenting today’s wine industry in Chile, what does this award mean to you?
The Special Award granted to my book “Vinos de Chile” by the organization Gourmand World Cookbook Awards is a significant recognition to today’s increasing reputation of Chilean wines in the world. And for myself, the acknowledgement of a long career dedicated to communicating about the great potentials of our wine sector.
What does it mean to the Chilean wine industry?
I have been a great admirer of how the Chilean wine sector has evolved over the last 30 years. This book, published independently by Editorial Contrapunto, is a way of paying tribute to this great achievement. But it also gives me the chance to share with wine lovers from all over the world our great geographical diversity and the country’s big potential for producing wines of high quality. I hope it will further contribute to promote the image of a mature wine industry that has opened to changes and is giving birth to wines that faithfully express their origin.
What do you most enjoy writing about in the world of Chilean wine, or what do you think most captivates readers?
One of the things I love about being a wine writer is the feeling that each bottle encloses a world in its own. No matter how many wineries you visit or how many wines you taste, there is always something that makes them unique. And it is fascinating to discover that this involves not only a specific terroir or a certain variety, but also a unique person -be it winemaker of viticulturist- who grants them their own personality.
In my opinion, the most important changes in the wine scene have occurred in Chile’s viticultural area. We have not only successfully incorporated new wine varieties such as Syrah and Grenache, but also introduced new clones of varieties that have been grown traditionally in our vineyards. Another important transformation of our wine sector is the incorporation of new wine-producing regions. And the combination of both (new clones and new regions) has allowed Chile to produce the best expressions for each variety. One of the most attractive examples of this is the result with new clones of Sauvignon Blanc, grown on coastal areas.
What do you think is Chile’s best kept secret in terms of wines or regions?
More than a certain wine region, I would say the best-kept secret in Chilean wine is the right combination of a specific variety and its most suitable origin. As such I would like advice readers to pay attention to Chardonnay from Limarí; to the Mediterranean varieties that have their origin in Aconcagua or Colchagua; to Carignan produced in Cauquenes and to Cabernet Sauvignon coming from Itata.
How was the reception in Asia to your book (and the topic of Chilean wine)?
In the context of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, I had the chance to make a presentation about Chilean wines. It included lots of pictures to illustrate the diversity of terroirs and origins, highlighting our production in the global wine context. It was amazing to realize that people are eager to learn more about our wines and about this small wine producing country, located at the very end of the world. Since my book has thorough information about these topics, and since sales of Chilean wines are increasing in Asia, there was big interest in my book, including the possibility of translating it into Chinese.
Harriet Nahrwold is a Chilean food and wine writer, based in Santiago, Chile. You can follow her latest on Twitter here. She writes for many different food and drinks publications in Chile and this is her first book.