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Photo for: South American Wines on the Rise: A Bordeaux Connection

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South American Wines on the Rise: A Bordeaux Connection

From Bordeaux to Beyond: The Global Journey of South American Wines in the Prestigious La Place de Bordeaux.

In the fine wine world, Bordeaux has long been regarded as the epicenter of excellence. Its centuries-old tradition and reputation for producing some of the world's finest wines have made it a symbol of prestige and quality. However, recent years have witnessed a fascinating transformation within the Bordeaux wine industry—a shift that involves the inclusion of South American wines in the Place de Bordeaux, raising questions about the significance of this emerging trend.

The Changing Face of La Place de Bordeaux

La Place de Bordeaux, often shrouded in the mystique of tradition and conservatism, is undergoing a modern transformation. Traditionally, La Place has been an exclusive domain for Bordeaux wines, with a tripartite structure comprising property owners, courtiers, and négociants. However, this once-rigid framework is adapting to a dynamic wine world.

The journey towards the inclusion of non-Bordeaux wines in La Place began almost three decades ago, with the release of Almaviva. Still, it was not until Masseto's arrival in 2009 that La Place truly opened its doors to wines beyond Bordeaux's borders. In recent years, the "hors Bordeaux" or "beyond Bordeaux" campaign, conducted in September, has evolved into a key event on La Place's calendar, rivaling the significance of the en primeur campaign.

This evolution has not gone unnoticed in the wine world, especially in London, where merchants and brokers are increasingly embracing the concept of "hors Bordeaux." For the first time, London-based key players are sending advance purchase orders to their customers ahead of the campaign, marking a significant shift in how these wines are distributed.

While these developments signal success, it is crucial to maintain perspective, given the current global market conditions. The economic turbulence of September, combined with the less-than-expected performance of the March campaign, has cast a shadow over Bordeaux's en primeur campaign. Some participants question whether La Place is better equipped to navigate the "hors Bordeaux" market than its traditional role in en primeur.

Now a Showcase of South American Wines

Image Source: ABARES

Despite these challenges, the allure of La Place de Bordeaux remains strong, as evidenced by the substantial number of new releases in September. Over 20 labels from various countries have joined this prestigious platform. Notably, South American wines have made their mark in this lineup.

Image: The 2021 CARO, 79% Malbec and 21% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an impressive showing for this joint venture between Lafite Rothschild and Nicolas Catena

Chile and Argentina, known for their remarkable wine production, are represented by releases from Clos Apalta, Vigna Maquis, and Caro. These wineries are emblematic of the collaboration between Nicolas Catena and Domaines Barons de Rothschild, a testament to the growing recognition of South American wines on the global stage.

The Seña 2021 Release: A Chilean Icon

Image Source: Instagram - Sena Winery

One South American wine that has garnered significant attention is Seña. Founded in 1995 as a joint venture between Eduardo Chadwick and Robert Mondavi, Seña has been instrumental in showcasing the potential of Chilean terroir. Seña's commitment to biodynamic farming in the Aconcagua Valley has solidified its reputation as a Chilean icon. 

The release of Seña 2021 is particularly noteworthy. This vintage, which has already received a perfect 100-point score, reflects the consistent quality and evolution of Chilean wines over the past two decades. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Carménère, and Petit Verdot, Seña 2021 boasts an exquisite palate of red fruit, blackcurrants, pastries, and dark chocolate. Its harmonious blend, vibrant acidity, and fine-grained tannins promise a wine with extraordinary aging potential. 

In conclusion, the emergence of South American wines in the Place de Bordeaux is a testament to the global recognition of their quality and potential. While Bordeaux remains a benchmark for excellence, it is now sharing its stage with wines from distant shores. The inclusion of South American wines in this prestigious platform signifies a shift in the wine industry's landscape, making it an important trend to watch. 

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As sommeliers, distributors, and collectors explore the diverse offerings presented by La Place de Bordeaux, the spotlight on South American wines highlights their growing significance in the world of fine wine. This trend invites wine connoisseurs to expand their horizons and embrace the richness of flavors and terroirs from across the globe. As the wine world continues to evolve, the journey of South American wines through the Place de Bordeaux promises exciting developments and new horizons for wine lovers everywhere.

Header image: https://www.lafite.com/

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