Chilean wine in China: Patricio Tapia wraps up Descarchados tour

Hans Qu and Patricio Tapia get ready to Chile out.

By Jim Boyce

Writer Patricio Tapia and sommelier Hans Qu wrapped up a whirlwind tour of China today with a Chilean wine class in Beijing.

The tour promoted the inaugural Chinese edition of Tapia’s guidebook Descarchados, officially on sale at the end of June and also available in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Qu, who spent three months visiting wineries and vineyards in Chile last year, translated the book. Tapia later told me there has been a good response to the tastings during the trip and singled out Nanjing as drawing a particularly enthusiastic crowd.

The class of 40 trade members in Beijing learned first about Chile’s wine regions, which are isolated by the Pacific in the west, the Atacama dessert in the north, the Andes in the east and the Patagonian ice fields in the south. Tapia then led a tasting of seven wines, including a pair of Carmeneres, a trio of Cabernet Sauvignons, and a Grenache and a Syrah. Here’s the lineup:

  • Viu Manent ‘El Incidente’ Carmenere 2008 (Colchagua Valley)
  • Concha y Toro ‘Terrunyo Block 27’ Carmenere 2010 (Cachapoal Valley)
  • Errazuris ‘The Blend’ Grenache 2010 (Aconcagua Valley)
  • Vina Quebrada de Macul ‘Domus Aurea’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Maipo Valley)
  • Santa Rita ‘Casa Real’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Maipo Valley)
  • Altair Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Cachapoal Valley)
  • Morande ‘Edicion Limitada’ Carignan 2010 (Maule Valley)

The wines were picked to contrast wine-making areas and styles. Most were blends, with Tapia explaining how each grape variety contributed to the wine. Errazuris’ ‘The Blend’, for example, was 65 percent Grenache, with the remainder 23 percent Mourvedre, 7 percent Syrah and 5 percent Roussanne, each variety contributing structure, aroma or some other quality. Meanwhile, while the Viu Manent was primarily Carmenere, it was also included some Malbec, the latter grape helping shore up the acidity of the wine.

I enjoyed both of these wines: the first because it was fresh, fruity and the kind of drop almost anyone would enjoy, the second because — with an aroma that included dark fruit, vanilla, toast, a touch of spice (pepper) and herb (mint?) notes — you could enjoy it over a few hours. I also liked the ‘Domus Aurea’ Cabernet Sauvignon its ripe, juicy, fresh well-balanced dark fruit.

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