We're all saddened to hear of the hundreds of people killed and millions more displaced by the magnitude-8.8 earthquake that hit Chile early on Saturday morning. My blog will focus on the serious effect the quake has had on the Chilean wine industry, an important part of the country's economy. I've heard from many vintners in Chile, though there are many more that I am waiting to hear from.
Initial reports are not good, with many wineries reporting broken tanks and millions of liters of wine lost. Apparently many wineries located in the southern valleys of Curicó and Maule were hit hard, but wineries north in Colchagua and Maipo were not spared. Power is down as well, which means wineries that were about to begin harvesting their white varieties are now stuck with grapes on the vines. Cellular networks are disrupted as is Internet and e-mail, so communication is still difficult.
James Molesworth is currently on vacation. He'll return to blogging in early March when he visits the Northern Rhône Valley to taste the 2008 and 2009 vintages.
At last night’s dinner I had two wines that provided a great contrast in the ability of wines to age versus those that simply endure, a topic that we often discuss here. It provided a lesson for those who think that great vintages automatically make lesser wines more ageworthy.
Despite his French heritage, Patrick Valette considers himself a Chilean. When you look at his winemaking résumé over the years, you can understand why. Valette, 50, helped fashion some superb Cabernet Sauvignons for the (sadly) short-lived Valette Fontaine winery. When that ended, he moved on to help oversee the winemaking at Viña Quebrada de Macul, while consulting for Viña Santa Rita and others.
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