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The Buyer’s Guide to Chile

It’s Chilean tasting week all week at Majestic, and who better to show off the best Chile has to offer than Majestic Wine Buyer Andy Lloyd. New on the blog today, Andy shares his inimitable tasting notes from a spring trip to Chile…

People get the wrong idea about being a wine buyer. They think it’s fun. Travelling round far-flung sunny climes, wine glass in hand, meeting with winemakers and tasting the latest vintages, looking for the best deals out there.

Ok, I admit, it is pretty good fun. I’m quite new to it myself, having been a store manager up until about a year ago. My first big trip was in the spring, starting in Chile.

Ten intense days travelling up and down the thin, narrow spine of South America. We visited vineyards everywhere – across the desert, in the valleys, up the mountains and along the coast. Personal highlights? It has to be the Pinot Noirs. For me, they’re the best in the world right now under £10. Slowly but surely, the winemakers of Chile are taming the most fickle grape on the planet.

Here’s some of the best of what I tasted.

Luis Felipe Edwards Signature Series Pinot Noir Reserva 2011, Rapel Valley, Chile
Frankly ludicrous value for money, with a refined, bright, red-fruit nose and lovely, light, textured palate. It’s a true crowd pleaser – so much so that I picked it for my sister’s wedding earlier this year.

Luis Felipe Edwards Selección Especial Malbec 2011, Colchagua Valley, Chile New!
More outstanding wine from LFE – a Chilean Malbec to match the best of Mendoza at this price. There’s a touch of vanilla spice alongside the plummy, blackberry aromas, with lots of juicy fruit on the full, smooth, voluptuous, round palate.

Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay 2011, Central Valley, Chile New!

The whole Santa Rita range looks amazing value at the moment, and nothing more so than this lovely light, crisp unoaked Chardonnay. Stunning value at £5.99.

And here are a few photos from the trip…

The Errazuriz winery and tasting room from up on the hill.

From left to right: ‘big Tom’ from Santa Rita, Andy and Chris our Majestic wine buyers.

Now at Tabali. A brand new limestone vineyard in the Limari valley – Andy checking out the soil, producing very elegant and restrained wines.

Infinity pool at Lapostolle – shame about the weather.

Grapes coming straight of the vineyard at Yali.

See more photos from Andy’s trip on our facebook page.