Mercado Chileno

Stuart Brown
Author – Stuart Brown

Mercado Chileno – 13th September 2016

Wines of Chile Annual Trade Tasting and Consumer Event

On the 13th September, seven wine tasting enthusiasts from Virgin Wines took the train from warm sunny Norwich, to the even warmer, oppressively humid, London for a well anticipated Trade Tasting.

This tasting was held by Wines of Chile close to the trendy Spitalfields Market in London. Trade tastings are one of the perks of working in the wine trade and ahead of the event I was particularly looking forward to this one. Some of Virgin Wines most popular wine comes from Chile, such as Perez Cruz, De Martino and Tierra del Corazon (to name a few) and I was looking forward to meeting some familiar faces from the industry and trying some exceptional wines.

It wasn’t chilly

Arriving in London the first thing that hit me was the heat and humidity. My thoughts turned to cool crisp white wine. Ice cold Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, delicious Viognier and hopefully something chilled and Sparkling. Wines of Chile didn’t disappoint!

The arrival

Approaching the trade tables in a group of seven is a bit overkill, so we separated into smaller groups at the front door. I buddied up with Sophie Lord, Wine Advisor and WSET teacher at Virgin Wines. I’ve been drinking with her for ten years and I refer to her as ‘The Palate Master’! In my opinion if you’re going to be tasting wine for 6 hours until your exhausted palate gives up, you need a ‘Sophie’ with you!

The room was huge and already jam-packed with wine lovers. Deep breaths all-round, grab a glass…. GO!

It begins

Sophie and I work table to table. Avoiding the stuff we’re really not interested in, making sure we make the most of the day. Over 400 wines featured at the event, and there’s no way we could have tried them all in the time we had. Behind each table are the winemakers, producers and/or suppliers involved so we made sure to chat to them all while we sampled their wines.

At these events it is sensible to use the spittoons provided. 100+ mouthfuls of wine is going to get you very, very drunk. But every now and then you come across a wine so delicious you swallow instinctively – this is when I know I’ve found a good’un!

We began with Viognier, Sauvigon and Chardonnay from Leyda, Colchagua and Casablanca, alongside some Petite Sirah and Cabernet from Maipo. That was followed by a trip to a table laden with chilled sparkling wines which helped take the edge off the heat of the day. We tried Brut Nature, Brut Rose and a Demi-Sec from Curicó.

We visited the guys from Perez Cruz and sampled the new vintages of some of our favourites, including some new wines from their ‘Chaski’ range that were superb. Followed by Emiliana to try their amazing organic dessert wine as well as the new 2013 vintage Coyam.  The new vintage Coyam was my first instinctive swallow. Yum!

Pisc-up

After several hours supping wine it was time for a change of beverage. Chile is also famous for their pisco. It’s a grape-based brandy and I love it. Sophie said she wasn’t a fan but by the time we left the pisco stand she was fully converted. The guys there made an amazing cocktail. Most visitors to the stand were being given a little shot glass of cocktail, by the time I’d finished befriending the guys there we were drinking together from large glasses! If you’re reading this – thanks Waqar! Both your pisco and cocktail were top-drawer!

Lunch and more

I might have had one too many cocktails. So it was time for an Empanada and a bottle of water before moving on to our friends at Boutinot and Tabalí who both showcased brilliant wines, as we’d expect from them. Having experts involved in the making of the wine to talk to behind the tables makes for interesting conversation and before we knew it the day had sped by quickly.

Before heading home we had enough time left to compare all the Carignan that was there. Wines of Chile had laid out a “Carignan Champions” table which was a great idea in my opinion. Sophie and I became expert judges and chose a winner from Odfjell, a producer that is unpronounceable when sober.

Before the train turned into a pumpkin

But then it was time to go home. We all enjoyed the trip to the Wines of Chile tasting. There were amazing wines to try and interesting people to speak to. I’d like to think we all learned a little something about Chilean wine production, and broadened our tastes some more.

At 5:30pm the venue opened to the public, with live music and live cooking going on late into the evening. So if a trade tasting sounds interesting to you – it’s always worth seeing if they’re open to the public.

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