"When The Vine Went South"

  by Fred McMillin


Santa Julia When European settlers reached North America over three centuries ago, they found native grapevines and made wine. However, in South America there were no indigenous grapes. So, the settlers had to introduce the grapevine into regions where no vines had ever stood. with this burden, viticulture remained essentially dormant for centuries.

...Harm Jan De Bliz in Wine Regions of the Southern Hemisphere

The Rest of the Story

Tarapaca Led by Chile and Argentina, the South American wine industry is far from dormant today. Low costs and fine growing conditions have attracted the money needed to put all those new brands on the shelves of today's wine shops.

So, we're in a transition period. The new wines all have attractive prices, but not all have attractive flavors. My tasters disliked about one third of them. However, here are 12 they felt were good values.


A Delightful Dozen From South America

12th - Argentina: '97 Chardonnay by Mariposa (Kend.-J.), $9
11th - Chile: '97 Chardonnay by Tarapaca (Beringer), $7
10th - Argentina: '96 Sangiovese by Santa Julia (Winesellers), $6
9th - Argentina: '96 Malbec by Santa Julia (Winesellers), $6
8th - Chile: '95 Cab by Piduco Creek (Parliament), $6
7th - Chile: '96 Meriot by Caliterra (R. Mondavi), $8
6th - Chile: '96 Sauv. Blanc by Piduco Creek (Parliament), $6.50
5th - Chile: '96 Chardonnay by Casa Donoso (Parlmt.), $8.50
4th - Argentina: Torrontes (white) by Santa Julia (Wnslrs.), $5
3rd - Chile: '96 Merlot by Santa Monica (Gnd.-Bundschu), $12
2nd - Chile: '96 Cab by Vina Tarapaca (Beringer), $7
Winner - Argentina: '97 Malbec by Mariposa (Kndl-Jksn.), $9


These imports are not likely to go away. At the sixth annual Wine Industry Symposium (FAX number is (707) 255-2044) in Napa, a speaker reported on imported wines. While France and Australia are increasing substantially the amount of wine they sell in the U.S.A., the biggest percentage increase was made by Chile!


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