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Atkin: 'Best line-up of Chilean wines I’ve ever tasted'

Published:  08 April, 2021

Tim Atkin MW, Harpers columnist and leading UK wine writer, has launched his 2021 Chile report.

Having missed his annual visit to the country due to the pandemic, and the chance to walk through the vineyards talking to viticulturalists and winemakers in person, Atkin however said: “I feel confident in saying that this was the best line-up of Chilean wines I’ve ever tasted”.

This, he added, was reflected in the scores he gave at the top end and the number of wines (119) that received more than 95 points.

“There are several reasons for this, and I can assure you that unwarranted generosity isn’t one of them,” Atkin said.

“The first is the outstanding quality of the 2018 vintage, which I mentioned in last year’s report. Second is the greater geographical spread of Chilean wines – from places as far afield as Alcohuaz, Huasco, Osorno, Paredones, as well as the recently rediscovered Secano Interior. Taken together with its long-established wine regions, they have given Chile enviable diversity.

“The third thing is a new sense of self-confidence. The leading Chilean winemakers know that their wines can compete with the very best. As someone who’s been visiting the country since 1990, it’s been a delight to witness that transformation over the last decade,” he said.

Atkin’s Podium in 2021 includes Marcelo Retamal of De Martino and Viñedos de Alcohuaz as Winemaker of the Year, with Roberto Henríquez named Young Winemaker of the Year and Felipe de Solminihac of Viña Aquitania taking the Winemaking Legend title. 

“Felipe is one of the Chilean wine industry’s great pioneers. He was the man who opened the gateway to the south with his plantings in Malleco in 1993, an area that has proved to be one of the best places in the southern hemisphere to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir,” said Atkin.

Atkin tasted 1,142 wines for the report, over a period of 18 days in London, which included 51 Zoom calls with winemakers and viticulturalists. From these, he has written full tasting notes for the 801 wines that scored 90 points in the 185-page report.

Commercial director at Wines of Chile, Angelica Valenzuela, said: “The outstanding quality of our wines in conjunction with the enviable diversity are part of the featured messages that stands out from Tim’s report.”

Now in its fifth year, the 2021 report is available through