Cinsault and Carignan in Chile


Cinsault and Carignan were taken to Chile by the French in the 19th century.  Master of Wine, Rosemary George, recently went to Chile to taste their wines.  This is what she said.

I have just had three wonderful weeks in Chile, first of all some holiday, exploring parts of the Atacama Desert and the Chilean Lake District, as well as a little time in Valparaiso, which is wonderfully vibrant city with an exciting and quite unexpected culture of street art. A new series of murals were specifically inspired by wine.

After the holiday came the work, an intensive week with 29 other Masters of Wine, discovering or re-discovering the main wine regions of the country. It had been fifteen years since my last visit to Chile and it was fascinating to see how the wine industry has changed and developed. Vineyards are being planted further north, further south and at higher altitudes, with the boundaries being pushed in all directions. Cool climate is a catch phrase, with vineyards benefitting from the cooling Pacific Ocean and the cool winds coming off the Andes. And where Bordeaux grape varieties were once the main focus of Chile, they are now re-discovering old plantings of Carignan and Cinsault.  Both Cinsault and Carignan were brought to Chile by the French in the 19th century.

Another significant change is the development of smaller wineries. The Chile wine industry is no longer dominated by the big producers. There is an organisation called MOVI, the Movement of Independent Wine growers or El Movimiento de Viñateros Independientes, which groups 34 wineries from all over the country. Members are invited to join, based on the quality of their winemaking, and I suspect simply how well they fit into the group. They must be hands on wine makers, producing good wines. Essentially, they are a marketing organisation, representing each other at tastings and so on. And at a tasting of MOVI wines they provided my introduction to some very enjoyable Carignan and Cinsault.

You can read reviews of Languedoc wines from Rosemary in our wine section here, and in her blog here.