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 NEW WORLD: Chardonnay, Chile 

2016 Gold: 2 Silver: 5 Bronze: 2 Commended: 3
2015 Gold: 0 Silver: 3 Bronze: 4 Commended: 4

Last year, Chile had a bit of a shocker with its Chardonnays. No Golds, a handful of Silvers and absolutely zero love from the tasting teams. Given the noises coming out of the country about seeking to make more grown-up styles of wine, it was both a surprise and a disappointment.

So this year’s performance was something of a relief. The country isn’t exactly tearing up trees with this grape variety, but it’s making much better wine than it did five years ago, and the pricing remains keen: two-thirds of the medal winners here were under £10, which compares very well with its main rivals Australia (30%) and South Africa (44%).

And when tasters start making approving noises about the top wines delivering as well (which has always been something of a problem for Chile), then things really are looking up. The question is, will next year’s wines continue to build on this encouraging start?

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘At the top end there’s some really smart stuff out there; they’re doing extremely well. It was nice at this entry-level price not to be writing “clumsy use of oak”. There’s more purity of fruit now; two or three years ago they’d have been full of oak alternatives.’ Annette Scarfe MW, team leader

‘They offered good value for money, very sound fruit, the oak was there but not obtrusive, and with natural acidity. They were great examples.’ Olivier Marie, team leader

‘They were very aromatic with good freshness.’ Andre Luis Martins, The Cavalry and Guards Club

‘I haven’t got one listed but I would think about it now. I would stock it at £5 By The Glass. They are summer wines; very refreshing.’ Piotr Tomaszewski, JKS Restaurants

“People look for value for money in Chile. People either want ripe, generous styles or something that over-delivers.” Sara Bachiorri, Chez Bruce
“Our flight went from riper styles to restrained cooler climates. The top wines were more Chablis-like.” Kelvin McCabe, Yauatcha City