I've been travelling in Chile this week, visiting wine regions south of Santiago. This is the epicentre of the rebirth of Chilean wine, and it is very exciting. I've written before about why Chile is experiencing a big change in its wine culture, so it is great to witness it first hand.
We have tasted dozens of small-scale, artisanal wines made from old vines in Itata and Maule which are lighter, more refreshing, more original and more interesting than the typical expectation of Chilean wine. And it's not just the little guys - larger producers are embracing this new style, and making convincing examples too. Furthermore, there are some great personalities involved - charismatic, thoughtful, opinionated and passionate winemakers who are a crucial factor in this new wine wave.
There are similarities to what has happened in Swartland recently - a reaction against generic international styles and a rediscovery of the potential of native/traditional varieties. Within Chile, the movement is gathering huge momentum and it shouldn't be long before it starts making a big impact in the UK.
There's much more to say about these wines - but here are some pictures about what is making Chilean wine cool right now. Click on any image to enlarge it.