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 NEW WORLD: Sauvignon Blanc, Chile

2016 Gold: 3 Silver: 4 Bronze: 6 Commended: 7
2015 Gold: 1 Silver: 2 Bronze: 7 Commended: 13

There is no shortage of fans of yer basic bog-standard Sauvignon Blanc – and on this evidence Chile is as good a place to get it as anywhere. The country’s Sav growers delivered well here this year: plenty of medals, and three Golds was a strong performance – a return to form after a disappointing competition in 2015.

Interestingly, rather like New Zealand, Chile seems to be evolving two different styles. But in their case, it’s geographical – and therefore rather easier to understand. Casablanca, for instance, is all about fruit, ripeness and flavour. Leyda, meanwhile, is (understandably, given its location close to the Pacific) producing wines that are tauter, leaner and more grown-up. Several tasters used the word ‘briny’…

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘I can see that there is an evolution in style and quality. In terms of value for money they are a good alternative to NZ Sauvignon Blanc.’ Gabriele Galuppo, Theo Randall at the InterContinental

‘I was nicely impressed. I wasn’t expecting so much of that lovely briney character. It came through in a lot of the Leyda wines.’ Mark Gurney, Cafe Murano

‘There was very good quality overall, with great price points. Sauvignon Blanc is very trendy, so these wines are great for pubs because of the price. Some of the upper-end wines here would not be out of place in fine dining restaurants either.’ Erik Simonics, The Savoy

“If the public want elegant then they order premium expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. These Casablanca wines did what I want them to do.” Alex Cooper, Haymarket Hotel