Since the writing of this article, we regret to inform you that Anuva Wines has closed down!
One of our favorite experiences for travelers exploring South America is of course indulging in the smooth wines of the region. In the heart of Palermo Soho in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires, we provide an exclusive wine tasting experience as part of our travel packages at Anuva Wines. Although their wine tastings in Buenos Aires only include Argentine wines, their very knowledgeable sommeliers know a lot about other South American wines.
As we look to explore the wines of Chile, we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to talk with Anuva Wines sommelier, Diego Esteban.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Diego had been working in premium restaurants, hotels and wine bars all around Argentina for about 9 years. Since the very beginning of his profession he became a huge fan of wine, good food and traveling which is why he decided to become a sommelier. Joining Anuva Wines 5 months ago, he began sharing his knowledge and passion for wine with those he hosted at the Wine Tastings at Anuva Wines. The unique wine tasting takes people on a whirlwind tour tasting the best Argentinean wines from boutique wineries whilst enjoying the pairings of locally made tapas. Being a proud Porteño and Argentine, Diego also enjoys sharing his on where to go and what to do in both Buenos Aires and Argentina.
♦ What is the state of Chilean wines today?
Chilean wines are definitely having a good go at becoming the best in the world! Having receiving the approval of its own population, Chilean wines are experiencing success in several other foreign countries with, the Chilean wine industry constantly growing and adapting to changes. Although nowadays the New World wine producing countries such as Argentina, New Zealand and Australia have been gaining territory in the Wine World market, Chile is still very strong. To give you an idea, nowadays Chile is exporting US$1.500 million of bottled wine…not bad huh?
♦ How do you define the essential elements that make Chilean wines unique?
Chile has an outstanding environment to grow the finest grapes for wines. Their vines are protected by the Andes Mountains, the Pacific Ocean and deserts all along the winemaking regions. The proximity to the ocean gives the wines very unique mineral notes and the foggy mornings in the Andes protect the vines from the harsh early morning sun. This also allows the grapes to provide very specific characteristics to the wines, such as the peppery hints in reds and herbal notes in the white wines.
♦ Why do you think that Chilean wines have become so popular around the world?
Today, Chilean wines are pretty popular all over the world. As pioneers in South America in exporting wine, Chile has obtained a privileged position in tough competitive markets such as in the USA and the UK due to its good quality and well-priced wines. Bottles of Chilean wine can be found from supermarkets up to the most selective wine stores in more than 70 countries around the world!
♦ How has wine evolved in Chile over the years?
Evolution in Chilean wine is constant. In the last 30 years, Chile has been experiencing changes in the wine industry that have favored the product spectacularly. Chilean winemaking families such as Undurraga and Montes always saw the great potential in the Chilean vines and with the use of modern techniques they changed the whole wine scene. These families never stop producing a large quantity of wine for the masses but now they are beginning to aim at ultra premium quality of wines as well. With the appearance of different boutique wine projects that produced ultra premium wines, this led to the expansion of foreign trade satisfying the demand of consumers who were looking for change through the New World wines.
♦ Aside from Cabernet Sauvignon, which other types of Chilean wines would you recommend and why?
If you are going to try Chilean wine you can’t miss the Carménère! This is the flagship red wine of Chile, and in general the super fruit is concentrated creating elegant, mineral and spicy notes. Every winery has its Carménère, and the variety of styles is huge. Syrah is another red variety that I am really fond of, and in the Aconcagua Valley you can find lovely examples, rich in spices and everlasting flavor. When it comes to whites, Sauvignon Blanc from Chile tends to be really delicate with unique herbal notes and bursting with citrus and tropical fruit notes.
♦ For you personally, what makes the perfect bottle of Chilean wine and why?
My personal taste takes me to the Chilean wines produced at high altitudes, where the vines grow near the mountains on rocky soils that give more mineral and spiced characteristics to the wines. The intensity of the sun in such regions is incredibly high and the wines from these regions are very aromatic. For me that is what represents the personality of my favorite Chilean wines, and in my opinion that is perfection.
♦ Which is the best wine producing region in Chile and which would you predict to be the next best region?
The Maipo Valley in Chile is what Mendoza is to Argentina. In this valley the most successful export wines are produced and have set major milestones in the history of Chilean wine. As for the next best region, I will have to go for the Rapel Valley where sub regions such as Colchagua and Cachapoal have been gaining popularity for their bold, robust wines of ultra premium quality. The 2005 Clos Apalta Blend from the Casa Lapostolle winery was voted as the number one Wine Spectator in 2008 and this result made history in the relatively unknown wine valley of Colchagua.
♦ Where did the idea for Anuva Wines come from?
Anuva was the way that Daniel Karlin (founder, owner and expat from the US) found to make anyone that visited Buenos Aires have the opportunity to try wines from boutique wineries that were very hard to get in Buenos Aires and even more so outside of Argentina. Anuva is a different wine tasting experience where the main idea is to taste the best wines of Argentina while learning and having fun in the process!
♦ What is the key for your approach to wine tasting in Buenos Aires?
“I was born and raised in Buenos Aires”, that is my line. I speak English very well as my Mom was an English teacher (as if I had any other choice), and some people get surprised when I introduce myself as someone who was born and raised here. I am an Argentine Sommelier trained in Argentina with Argentine wines being my expertise. Introducing Argentine wines to others is something I do with great passion and I am sure that people can tell I also have a lot of fun doing it.
♦ What is your favorite bottle of Chilean wine and why?
My favorite Chilean wine is a bottle of Von Siebenthal Carabantes Syrah 2008. This is an 85% Syrah 15% Cabernet Sauvignon from Viña Von Siebenthal Winery in the Aconcagua Valley. It is a super peppery red wine, with hints of jammy red fruits, fig compote and smoked-toasty notes. The rich flavor of the wine is immediate the moment it enters your mouth and it is a long, full bodied and smooth wine at the same time, making it ever so elegant. It was so particular that I can still remember the flavor every time I think of it and that is after tasting last almost 2 years ago with a grilled leg of lamb and in company of one of my best friends…there is no way to forget it!
♦ If somebody had never tried Chilean wine before, what would be the one wine you would serve them so that they had an idea about Chilean wines?
Montes Alpha Carménère 2012, the last vintage of the Chilean flagship red wine of Casa Montes Winery would be an excellent example to introduce anyone to Chilean wine. It faithfully represents the personality of the New World Chilean Carménère style.
Anuva Wines – CLOSED!
Make sure to ask your Class Adventure Travel specialist to add the Anuva Wines tasting experience to your South America travel itinerary!