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The Chilean Coast: Where the Pacific Shapes Vibrant Reds and Whites

featured, Chile

Joaquín Hidalgo, Jul 2024

A little-known strip of Chile is producing a rich seam of distinctive, characterful reds and whites, with Cabernet Sauvignon conspicuously absent. This report focuses on Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cinsault, País and more from the Chilean coastline, where a range of delicious wines are ready to be discovered.

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The Bewildering 2024 Season in Argentina

featured, Argentina

Joaquín Hidalgo, Jun 2024

The 2024 vintage, despite being one of the warmer ones, presents wines with distinct fruit flavors, vibrant colors and juicy freshness in its reds. While the exact reasons remain unclear, both barrel samples and winemaker reports suggest this trend. This report explores hypotheses to understand the uniqueness of the 2024 vintage.

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2021 and 2022 Set the Tone for the Classic Reds of Mendoza

featured, Argentina

Joaquín Hidalgo, May 2024

The northern oasis of Mendoza is a large and diverse area that covers almost one-third of Argentina's wine production. However, in the foothills, known as the Primera Zona, the cool 2021 and 2022 vintages allowed for delicate balance and complexity in the wines. This report is a journey through the region and its styles, with some bottles brimming with the magic that made Malbec famous.

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Chile: El Niño Brought a Slow-Motion Season with a Long Harvest Window

featured, Chile

Joaquín Hidalgo, May 2024

Two thousand twenty-four was characterized by the El Niño phenomenon, resulting in a cool spring and a summer with erratic veraison. By March, when the harvest window opened, the grapes had barely developed any sugars. Biding your time and choosing the perfect moment were the key factors in a year with less structure and more delicate fruit flavors.

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The Many Riojas of Rioja: A Tale of Forking Paths

featured, Spain

Joaquín Hidalgo, Apr 2024

Rioja finds itself at a crossroads. Like many a great story, Rioja is being challenged by small and mid-size producers over its identity. A dynamic and fascinating scenario is unfolding as a result, reflected in the almost 800 bottles that make up this report. Certain producers' enthusiasm and stylistic exploration are inspiring amidst a general decline in sales, defining a wine landscape as diverse as it is attractive. Rioja is currently an adventure of contrasts and discoveries.

2   the golden hour over the trapiche costa y pampa vineyards in chapadmalal  buenos aires province  in the humid pampa  6 kilometers away from the atlantic ocean shore. the dominant note is the green of the fields.

Argentina: Where Extremes Offer Up Unexpected Surprises

featured, Argentina

Joaquín Hidalgo, Feb 2024

Wine consumers often mistakenly conflate Mendoza with Argentina—not an unreasonable error given that 70% of the country’s grapes grow in the province. But, when one tilts their glass toward the country’s other regions, perceptions can often be altered. Argentina’s varied whites and reds reflect the essence of a vast range of quite different landscapes. This report takes us on a journey through them.

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The Whites of Rueda Get Serious

featured, Spain

Joaquín Hidalgo, Feb 2024

A region famous for simple, fruity whites that are ideal for casual summer drinking, Rueda is increasingly producing wines of greater depth and sophistication. The effort put in by producers is beginning to pay off, although it is still early days. In this report, I review some of the bottlings that offer a glimpse into that promising future.

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Reds From Toro: Old Vines and New Knowhow

featured, Spain

Joaquín Hidalgo, Dec 2023

Renowned for producing wines with good structure and energy since medieval times, Toro is a small but proud DO located in Castilla y León that focuses mainly on reds. With vines that date back to pre-phylloxera times and soils that temper the region’s sunny climate, several of the labels found in Toro offer breathtaking energy and flavor.

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Ribera del Duero: A Shifting Frontier for Spanish Wine

featured, Spain

Joaquín Hidalgo, Nov 2023

Forty years after its official inception, the Ribera del Duero DO is experiencing a period of change, with a wide range of new wines and styles that run the gamut from traditional to strikingly forward-thinking. Whether its producers are focused on expressing the identity of a region or looking to push the boundaries of what can be done with premium red wines in the higher areas of Castilla y León, the DO offers a diverse range of reds along with a handful of whites whose character is defining the area’s transition from the past into the present.

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The Uco Valley: Where Diverse Terroirs Work Their Magic

featured, Argentina

Joaquín Hidalgo, Sep 2023

The mountainous region in the center of the province of Mendoza has enjoyed a boom in investment and vineyard expansion in recent decades. It is now the home of some of the country’s most accomplished efforts to make wines with an authentic sense of place. Thanks to in-depth studies of local terroirs and an increasingly diverse range, the Uco Valley produces some of Argentina's most interesting wines.