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The full Montes on UK buyers

Published:  23 July, 2008

"The UK is a tough market; one of the toughest" says Montes

Chile has huge potential for quality wine, according to Aurelio Montes, director-winemaker of Vin Montes. Montes was in London last week to unveil the company's new wines. "As a country we have not produced top quality. From the outset we at Montes had a clear view of what the market needed and how to build a brand to conquer the market'," he said. Montes, which claims to be Chile's only 100% Chilean-owned premium wine company, exports 95% of its wines with the UK second only to the USA. "The UK is a tough market, one of the toughest," Montes told Harpers. "Your buyers want the best quality and the lowest prices. It is a nightmare. There is a lot of pressure but we are a medium-to-small winery with a commitment to quality and we will not fall into this crazy game of promotions and low prices." The new wines are: 1999 Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley, which will be priced at approximately 5.99; Cabernet Sauvignon/ Carmenre (70%:30%) blend, priced about 7.99; and a Montes Alpha Syrah (85% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) which is expected to retail for 11.99. Montes has listings with Majestic, Oddbins, Wm Morrison and Tesco. Its flagship "M" brand, which is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, retails for approximately 30, but is sold on allocation with HwCg receiving about 300 cases. The Syrah comes from the Apaita Valley, which Montes first saw in 1972. "It was love at first sight," he said. "When we bought 60ha in 1990 it was like a fulfilment of a dream. We now have 120ha and have pioneered slope plantations." Another project is the purchase of 300ha in the coastal region of Marchigue, which will probably be planted with Carmenre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Tempranillo.