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Published:  23 July, 2008

With trophy winners including a Syrah from the Elqui Valley (Chile's northernmost wine region), Chardonnay from Malleco (its southernmost), Riesling from Bo Bo and Malbec from Maipo, the Second Annual Wines of Chile Awards in Santiago threw up no shortage of surprises and highlighted Chile's fast-developing diversity. The awards were selected from more than 450 wines judged blind by a panel of nine UK judges, including Oz Clarke and Rosemary George MW. After the tasting, the judges praised the diversity and overall quality of the wines, while urging the Chileans to be wary of using too much extraction and oak. The surprise nod for Wine of the Show went to 2002 Alta Tierra Syrah, made by Via Falernia in the Elqui Valley. Its fellow gold-medal winner in the Syrah category was the 2003 Tabal Reserva Shiraz, from the neighbouring northerly region of Limar. Perhaps the most successful winery at the top end, however, was Casablanca-based Casas del Bosque, which came away with two trophies (both for Sauvignon Blanc) and a gold for its Reserve Merlot 2003.