CHILE VINTAGE GUIDE
Click on each vintage to see what we currently have in stock on our main website:
2017- Much as the 2010 vintage will be remembered for the catastrophic earthquake that struck near Concepcion, wrath returned to Chile in 2017 in the form of wildfires in the south (affecting Maule, Itata, and Bio-Bio) as well as floods in the north (affecting Limari). It’s difficult to generalize resulting wines where such diversity of climactic challenges are possible, as Chile’s winegrowing area stretches 1000 miles north-to-south. Points in-between had a warm growing season with an early harvest which was successful for Carménère in particular. Smoke-tainted wines from the widespread wildfires are thought to be successfully declassified out of premium bottlings that might show the characteristic as the wine ages.
2016 - The same El Niño weather system that wrought havoc in Mendoza affected many of Chile's growing regions in 2016, as well. As in Argentina, the whites faired better as most of the fruit was in by the time the rains arrived in April. Quality in the reds is more variable, especially in Maipo, Rapel, and Colchagua. Bright acidity and moderate alcohols are the norm, making this a year especially suited to whites and rosés.
2015 - Managing excessive heat was the name of the game for most of Chile's producers. Timely rain storms late in the season helped in this regard, as the additional moisture served to dilute sugars just enough so that growers could achieve a semblance of balance in the final wines, especially in the districts of the Central Valley. In general, producers are very optimistic about the wines, but this a vintage that decidedly favors power over finesse.
2014 - The chief challenge of 2014 was a devastating, nation-wide frost in spring that resulted in up to a 50% reduction in yields in some regions, especially along the coasts. However, a warm and dry summer and harvest treated the remaining fruit to a nearly ideal season. While producers bemoan the loss of fruit, the quality of the finished wines is outstanding across the board, especially for the late-ripening varietals. Fans of Chile will want to go big on 2014, as long as market availability holds up.
2013 - The coolest vintage in at least a decade, 2013 was a year in which basically every varietal, red and white, struggled to the finish line. Harvest lasted from mid-March to late May, one of the latest harvests on record, and the resulting wines are quite atypical for Chile. Still, fans of racy, electrically charged whites and taut reds full of structural tension will find plenty to love in the 2013 wines. But, as is always the case with an irregular vintage, proper homework is required before making purchase decisions.
2012 - Hot and dry conditions prevailed along the entire length of the country, forcing growers to be extra judicious about picking and winemakers to be reserved in the winery. The potential for over-extraction was on everyone's mind, but the cautious producers managed to make brawny reds with great balance for aging and fleshy, flavorful whites with immediate appeal. The cooler regions also managed to turn out elegant Syrah and Pinot Noir wines.