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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Chile is back, according to Wines of Chile UK director Michael Cox, and the message to the trade tells of an improvement in quality across all price points and varieties and that Chile can confidently produce good quality from 4 up to 15. Cox was speaking at the generic Wines of Chile tasting on 9 September at Lord's Cricket Ground in London. He told Harpers: There has been a loss of confidence [over the three years since the London office closed] and we have got to get that back. We have to recreate some "buzz", some momentum.' In consumer research, images of South America comprise rainforests, salsa, samba, beef, Incas, Aztecs and Colombian drug dealers, but none of these relate to Chile, says Cox. Chile needs to break away from that amorphous block. We want Chile to be thought of as a country where you can rely on the wine.' Asked to pick out some of the runners and riders', Cox chose Chileno as an up-and-coming brand to join the ranks of Concha y Toro, Valdevieso and Cono Sur. He singled out Perez Cruz and Casa Marn (both seeking UK agents) as small wineries to watch' and tipped Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, particularly from Chile's cool climate areas such as Casablanca, as his budding' varieties. Asked about the on-trade, Cox said: It's a tricky market - we have to educate and build awareness. For that we have to work closely with independent wholesalers who work with the on-trade. It's a question of evolution. We have to build awareness, create confidence and get the momentum going.'