Saturday, December 25, 2010


Hello Wine Lovers,
As you noticed I haven't being writing since September, well this is because we have being very busy working on our latest project: LATINO CELLAR (

LATINO CELLAR is our website, which I created with my partner Fran Flynn ( to combine our skills to express both professional passions.

If you are interested in my new blog, please go to , because I won't be writing on this page anymore.
I am putting all my effort into expressing my love for my homeland Chile, my passion for wine, and my desire to share my knowledge with others. Fran will develop the site to offer new technologies and online opportunities as they present.

Over time we will travel together to bring you stories and knowledge from interesting locations within Australia and Chile and other places around the world, you can follow us by Twitter: @LatinoCellar or Facebook: David at Latino Cellar.
We will promote wines and other products from Chile, South America and other international locations as well as offering special Australian products. The common denominator about our products offered are ones that we truely believe in and would happily serve to our friends.

Come and join us in our adventures, to share the Flavours of Celebration...

Cheers !!!
David Stevens-Castro
Wine Merchant & Sommelier

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Australian Terroirs: Adelaide Hills

Over the last three decades the Adelaide Hills has built a reputation as one of Australia's most exciting cool climate regions producing distinctive, refined and elegant wines. Today there are more than 95 producers and over 4000 hectares of vineyards. Although grapes were planted as early as 1839, it was not until 1979 that viticulture was revived in the Adelaide Hills.

Located in the Mt Lofty Ranges thirty minutes drive from Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills forms a narrow corridor 70 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide. The undulating topography offers a wide diversity of vineyard sites. The elevation varies from around 400 metres at Macclesfield, to 600 metres at Piccadilly and 700 metres at Mt Lofty. This region is strikingly beautiful with its patchwork of vineyards, forests, beef and dairy farms, apple and pear orchards.

The Adelaide Hills is bordered to the north by the Barossa and Eden Valleys with McLaren Vale to the South. Due to its altitude, the Adelaide Hills is significantly cooler than these more traditional regions - on average 4°C cooler during the day and 8°C at night. The cool, dry summer and autumn ripening conditions produces grapes with ideal fruit composition, in terms of concentration, spectrum of flavour and natural acidity.

Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are particularly well suited to the cool conditions of the region and produce some of Australia's finest examples. Shiraz, Riesling and Pinot Noir are equally impressive, but careful site selection and yield management are essential.

## Most of the information is from the website of the winery Shaw & Smith, based in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Lady Against the Current

Few female winemakers enjoys greater respect in the world than Elisabetta Foradori from Trentino. When her father passed away in 1984, the 19 year old Elisabetta Foradori had to take over the family’s estate. She might had another career in mind, but she did well taking that big decision.

Trentino is located in the northeast of Italy, and it has been join together with its neighbouring district Alto-Adige, also called South-Tyrol, which borders to Veneto in the east. When we are talking about Italian wine, Trendino easily is in the shadow of Piemonte, Tuscany and Veneto, . Maybe it’s not that strange, since the wines from the area have struggled to show identity and character in the modern wine world.

In the eighties the majority of the local growers wanted to plant international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, even if that meant to pull out the grape varieties. Foradori started to plant the globetrotter Sauvignon Blanc, but she changed her mind when she saw the potential in the local grapes.

Back to the roots

After some years of trying and failing, she was in no doubt: She wanted to go for the relatively scarce and unknown red grape Teroldego. Teroldego is genetically in family with the famous Syrah and has the same qualities: Full body and round fruit combined with balanced tannins and its good cellar capabilities. The grape is only grown in Trentino, and the best appellation is Campo Rotaliano, were Foradori has all there vineyards.

When Foradori started to study the Teroldego vineyards, she discovered that they were planted with a the idea to achieve quantity instead of quality. After doing a massive selection, where buds were taken from the best plants, they selected the best genetic to bring back the best of the variety.


Since 2000 Elisabetta Foradori has converted all of her production to biodynamic, and the work now is done by Rudolf Steiner’s principals. In 2003 all of the 22 hectare was converted, but it takes five to seven years before you really feel the great differences, she explains.
The best and most complex red wine goes into the Granato, its takes its name from the colour of the wine.The others goes under the wine Teroldego Rotaliano.
She also does the white wine Myrto, which comes from 80 years old vines of the local grape Incrocio Manzoni, as well as Sauvignon Blanc.

In the case of Teroldego, investigations have determined that the genetic structure of this cultivar is frequently present in the Italian accessions.
The strict relationship among Teroldego, Lagrein, Marzemino, and specially with Syrah opens new interesting perspectives. Lagrein, considered as the father of Teroldego, is derived from Pinot noir. Pinot noir represents a junction point with Syrah; because it is also considered to be the father of the cultivar called Dureza, that molecular evidences have demonstrated to be Syrah’s father.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Australian International Beer Awards

The Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) is the pre-eminent showcase for premium beer and brewing excellence in the Asia Pacific Region. The Awards are the largest annual beer awards in the world with entries from 40 countries in 2010.

Australian International Beer Awards Chairman, Peter Manders attests the increase in international winners to a growth in entries from top tier brewers from around the globe. “We were extremely impressed with the entries received at this year’s Awards. Now recognised on a global stage as the pre-eminent showcase for premium beer and brewing excellence in the Asia Pacific region, the international dominance has not come as a surprise, receiving more and more high calibre international entries each year,” said Mr Manders.

This event held in Melbourne is for brewers of commercial and boutique beers and is not to be missed. The beers are tested over two weeks by a panel of 30 judges and as you can imagine is a lot to be drunk!.

"The Kross Family"
I think is always good to know how your favourite is doing on the world stage. everyone has "their" beer that they love, but I would say that these results are a really good inspiration to try more "good ones", those ones on the shelfes that you just often look at, maybe you might want to try them now.

It surprised me that in this year's competition, that not only Kross (Southern Brewing Company S.A.) won medals for Chile. There were other breweries, such as: Salzburg (Cervezas Artesanales S.A) and Szot Microbrewery.

The 3 breweries received :

1 Gold ( Szot 1000 dias Strong Ale)

3 Silver ( Kross 5, Kross Golden Ale, Kross Pilsner)

4 Bronze ( Kross Stout, Salzburg Doppelbock, Szot Stout, Szot Imperial Stout)

It's great to see that is something good is coming from my country in the beer world and that they are being recognized on an international level.
The global tendency of emerging breweries is spreading all over and the increasing number of entries in the AIBA shows that.

Keep up the good work brewers out there !!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vintage 2010. Report of Argentina and Chile.

Argentina and Chile enjoyed cool growing season. Argentinean winemakers are pleased with lower alcohol levels and ripe tannins, which they believe have produced an elegant vintage. Chilean Winemakers started harvest shortly after a devastating earthquake, but pulled through to produce a good vintage, even if quantities are down.
By James Molesworth

Sometimes late is better, Despite some reduce yields and delayed harvests, Argentina's vintners are ecstatic about their 2010 vintage, with some calling the best since 2002. An early November frost reduced yields in some areas of Mendoza, the country's most important growing area. After that the region was treated to a very dry season marked by a heat spike in the middle of January that triggered shut downs in many vines. Ripening resumed after a two-week delay, leading to a late but exceptional harvest.

" The result was the fruit was a very healthy along with an interesting slow sugar accumulation in the last part of the season before harvest ", said Alberto Antonini, winemaker and partner at Altos Las Hormigas and consultant winemaker of several wineries such as Finca & Bodega Carlos Pulenta and Bodega Melipal. " Normally we deal with the opposite: fast sugar growth ahead of a flavour development

But in 2010 most producers reported alcohol levels of 14 percent or less, relatively low for the region, depiste having fin, supple structures and lush fruit flavours. "

Sugars just stayed the same for two weeks, but the phenolic ripeness kept going, so there are no green flavours at all, but alcohols of only 13 or 13.5 ( percent) for us". said Santiago Achaval, of elite producer Achaval-Ferrer.

"Overall yields are down 20 to 25 percent", said Laura Catena of Bodega Catena Zapata and Luca. "But it is hard to complain about the yields when you taste the concentration and richness of the wines in barrel".In Mendoza's souther Uco Valley, growers reported alcohol levels of 0.5 to 1 percent below normal, combined with the fresh acidity and ripe, silky textures. " Tempranillo ripened extremely late and Syrah shows exceptional balance and extreme concentration", said Jose Spisso, Head winemaker for Bodegas y Viñedos O.Fournier.

Further south, in the wind-swep Patagonia region, spring brought several frosts, though none were particular severe.The growing season was windy and cool, further resulting in reduce yields.

"Veraison was two weeks late but the bunches matured at an even pace", said Hans Vinding-Diers of Bodega Noemia de Patagonia, Patagonia's top Malbed producer. " Then autum kicked in whith warm days, so we got superb polyphenols and fresh acidities, but low alcohols. The year worked for all varieties, if you waited in order to get fully ripe fruit.


Chile's 2010 harvest will likely be overshadowed by the massive earthquake that struck on Feb.27, causing extensive damage to the historical heart of the country's wine industry in the Curico and Maule Valleys.

While wineries lost wine, tanks and barrels in the quake, the harvest itself came in several weeks late and yields were down 20 percent or more (depending on location). That helped producers grapple with logistics at a time when the industry's infrastructure was under duress ( the quake struck during what normally have been the early part of harvest).

Following a cold, wet winter and a cool spring, budbreak and veraison were delayed significantly, up to three weeks in some places. And with cool temperatures running through March and April, late-ripening red varieties sucha as Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere struggled to catch up in some areas. Growers were waiting into May ) the equivalent of November in the northern hemisphere) to finish picking, but were optimistic thanks to dry weather.

Chile's more recently developed, cooler viticultural areas such as Casablanca, Leyda, San Antonio and Limari were well-suited to handle the 2010 growing season, as early-ripening cool-climate varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay , Pinot Noir and Syrah excelled.

"Summer didn't start until december and while we've had the usual number of days between flowering and veraison. everything has ben delayed because there hasn't been enough heat" said Adolfo Hurtado, winemaker for Vina Cono Sur, which specializes in cool-climate varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir " I'm really happy with the whites and Pinot Noir. It's going to be a different kind of year, but interesting "

" It's a great year for us", said Agustin Huneeus Jr. of Casablanca Valley's Veramonte " Great acidity and superfresh, elegant wins, with good fruit.

" In contrast, producers in the country's prime Cabernet and Carmenere spots, the Maipo and Rapel valleys, were harder pressed due to the cooler temperatures. Nonetheless , optimism was still the order of the day. " Red wines ( will be) different than other years" said Aurelio Montes de Vina Montes. " Extremely good color and tannins, lower pH and higher acidity adds to less alcohol content. The wines will be in some way leaner, more elegant and well-prepared for bottle aging ".

With the late ripening varieties playing catch-up late in the season, site selection and yields will be critical to achieving quality and balance in the wines.

" For those who didn't overcrop and had healthy vineyards into April and May, this is an outstanding vintage" said Sven Bruchfeld of Agricola Lavina." But those with lots of tonnage are going to have unripe grapes"

"The fact that we had low yields really helped in this cool vintage". said Alexandrea Marnier-Lapostolle owner of Casa Lapostolle, located in the Colchagua Valley. "We harvested two weeks lated than usual but they were ripe"

The smaller 2010 crop could lead to some pressure on prices, however, as many wineries neet to make up shortfalls from the harvest as well as inventories los during the earthquake.

" It's an awkard market now because people are buying wine with insurance money, so it's like they're buying wine for free. With the crop down and people trying to replace stocks lost in the quake, there's definitely some pressure on suppy" said one winery owner who asked not to be identified.

### This article is from

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Overview of the Wine World

The situation generated by the massive removal of vineyards in European Wine Countries, such as Spain, France, Portugal and Italy, has affected the world-wide supply chain. The scale of the removal has been so vast that it covers approximately 75 thousands has. To put this in context that amounts to more than half of Chile's planted vineyards, which is around 115 thousands has.

A strong price war can be observed in European supermarkets, and not only in table white wines and friendly reds, but also in wines with denomination of origin such as champagne.

In the United States, the situation is also difficult since the financial crisis. Overall consumers are tending towards consuming cheaper wines than prior to the crisis. In fact, if 2008 is compared with 2009, in the latter year wine sales of expensive bottles in supermarkets didn't pass 50 U.S$ however in 2008 wines of 90U.S$ were a regular purchase. In some restaurant they were even advertizing: “If you drink a wine of less than 50 US$, and you don't like it, we will give you the money back”.

Today, the American and the English comsumer are drinking wine, but with a definite tendency towards drinking cheaper wines. In fact this is a world-wide trend. It is almost certain that Chile will strongly increase the export of cheaper wines, particularly because Chile is already known as a country that produces good wines with attractive prices. If this happens it would be great for the industry because currently the national market is pretty static.

Retailers wanting to sell wines of higher price need to be aware that the consumers expect destinctively better quality in those wines.

This kind of consumer is also looking for more than just quality, they want to know what is behind the label; the history of the wine, who is the winemaker etc. This consumer may also want to be in direct contact with the producer and have knowledge of the distribution.

For these reasons wine tourism, show-rooms, international trade fairs, masterclasses etc are becoming more and more important, because the costumer is becoming more educated about what is out there in the wine world.

The use of the internet, blogs (, forums, social networks, among others, are being used by costumers to help decide on their purchases. From their place of work, home, restaurant or a coffee shop they can choose what to buy 24hr a day. This virtual world of information is changing the industry and making it more competitive. The opinions of mainstream wine “Gurus” are becoming less appreciated as the costumer now wants to make heir own decision from their own broad sources of information.

The world is looking for easy wines to drink. The average customer isn't interested in the ritual of tasting. They just want to enjoy the moment and they don't care if the Syrah has blackberry aromas or jam notes. That is for the technicians not for the common consumer. This partly explains, in my opinion, why Rose wine is becoming more popular - It is so easy to drink. What the average costumer looks for now is an immediate, easy drinking wine rather than a wine with cellaring potential.

The world has also become more enviromentally conscious and the "green" tendency will increase the sales of natural, organic and byodinamic wines, and not only in the young-adult demographic.It will also be important to future generations of wine drinkers.

The countries that are expected to continue growing are: New Zealand with their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, Argentina with their Malbec, South Africa with Shiraz and without a doubt Chile with the Cabernet and Carmenere. And if we are to be specific about wine regions within Chile, Limari and Maule will be the main ones.

### Most of the information is from the article " Como sera el mundo del vino 2010 " of the magazine Revista del Campo, which was written by Sergio Correa, Winemaker Consultant, Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit, French Goverment. He's part of the Brotherhood Saint Emilion. Translated and Summarized by DSC.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PANGEA , the Australian and Chilean Connection

The winemakers Felipe Tosso, of Chile, and John Duval, of Australia, joined together seven years ago to create a project called Pangea - which was to produce a premium shiraz. The Ventisquero Winery, part of the VIAL group, is the one who produces this Premium Shiraz and it was when Duval left Penfolds in Australia when the company dared to offer to him this new project in Chile.

Duval said yes, and it was great timing that his colleague in Penfolds, the vineyard specialist Rob Gibson was also available. Duval invited him to help them in the management of the vineyard. The Australian duo soon began to manage and understand the vineyard, and little by little the vines of Apalta began to express their terroir.

Pangea comes from a vineyard that Ventisquero has in Apalta, in the Colchagua Valley. This Shiraz is planted in soils with the perfect combination of clay and rocks, which allow the vines to have the right stress for optimum results, therefore fully expressing the characteristics of the location.

If we go back to his beginnings, Australian John Duval joined Penfolds in 1974. Penfolds is the most famous and important Australian Winery ( bottles such as Penfolds Grange or Grange Hermitage are part of their portfolio). 12 years later he became the Chief Winemaker. He learnt from the greats: Max Schubert (Grange Creator) and Don Ditter (the technician, right hand of Schubert).

Duval, followed faithfully the legacy of Grange when he became the man in charge, but also left his own mark with a shiraz more in his style. He created Penfolds R.W.T., a Shiraz with 100% French barrel. Quite the opposite to Grange, which is 100% American barrel. That’ is because Duval is an admirer of the subtleties of the French barrel, and how it respects the fruit and for that reason, clearly, French is the wood that uses in Chile for Pangea.

He also uses french barrels in his personal project, John Duval Wines (
, in Barossa, something that he formed as soon as he left Penfolds in 2003. Also, he uses it in another consultancy, with the Winery Long Shadows, a project created by the pioneer of Washington, Allen Shoup. This is an annually selected group of celebrities from the wine world who are invited to make a wine for that year - only a wine of a certain wine variety. Of course Duval picked up Shiraz, and his wine is called Sequel, from the Columbia Valley.

PANGEA IN VERTICAL [in the words of the winemakers]

Pangea 2004 This harvest is described by Tosso and Duval, as cold. This climatic characteristic is reflected in the wine, and also the fact that in that year Duval and Gibson were just beginning to work out the yields of the vineyard. Its body is medium to light, with a smoothness that caresses the whole mouth.

Pangea 2005 In this year the climate was warmer, and the wine reflects that also. Just as 2004, Pangaea 2005 has a 5% of cabernet in its mixture, an old trick of Grange to gain more body and structures. Its body is therefore warmer, heavier, and its nose more spicy. Duval thinks that it reflects the purity of shiraz.

Pangea 2006 Is the harvest that today is on the market. "The 2006", explains Duval, "was much warmer, the warmest Autumn he reckons. Tosso adds that they worried about harvesting the grapes before reaching the critical point, when the fruit would start to lose its freshness. But it would seem that they didn't quite make it. 2006 is warm in the nose and in the mouth, it smells of cinnamon, over red cherries. Duval likes the 2006, says that it expresses how the fruit of a Shiraz from Apalta is.

Pangea 2007, Is from an almost perfect vintage. Tosso takes time to admit it, but soon he says: "yes, 2007 was a really good year in Apalta". The plants were older, more balanced, and the vigor already more controlled. It was a good bet, all together. "Pangea 2007 is my favourite along with 2004, both have common freshness" he continued. "2007 is the perfect expression of Apalta, but with something extra that makes it more interesting".

*** Most of information is from the Article " En mini vertical " by Mariana Martinez, of the website Traslated and summarized by DSC.

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