Chilean Wine Wins Blind Taste Test In 1976, a blind wine taste test in Paris put Napa Valley, Calif., wines on the map. More than 25 years later, a similar event called the Berlin Tasting brought new respect to Chilean wines. Now, a Chilean vintner has re-created the Berlin Tasting to bring more recognition to Chilean wines -- and, at the New York tasting, it worked.
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Chilean Wine Wins Blind Taste Test

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Chilean Wine Wins Blind Taste Test

Chilean Wine Wins Blind Taste Test

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NPR's Margot Adler reports from Manhattan.

MARGOT ADLER: I'm sitting next to Leslie Gevirtz, a reporter for Reuters.

LESLIE GEVIRTZ: Everyone's being very serious.

ADLER: Yeah.

GEVIRTZ: Everyone's taking notes. We're all swirling our glasses, sniffing.

ADLER: It's very quiet. I hear a curious sound from the person on my right.

GEVIRTZ: They're chewing the wine. They're trying to extract every note that they can from it.

ADLER: Eduardo Chadwick of the Errazuriz winery says before the Berlin Tasting of 2004, Chile had no recognition.

EDUARDO CHADWICK: I was traveling around the world trying to say - to convince the audience that Chile had quality, and it was very difficult.

ADLER: Chadwick says when he did the Berlin Tasting, he would have been happy to come in anywhere in the top five. Chilean wines came in first and second, ahead of Chateau Lafite and Chateau Margaux.

CHADWICK: So this was like the Berlin Wall fall down.

ADLER: Michael Yurch, president of Sherry-Lehmann, one of New York's finest wine stores, has just marked his choices.

MICHAEL YURCH: I like number six. I think it's a French wine or an (unintelligible) or one of the other. I don't think it's Chilean. I'm just guessing.

ADLER: It turns out to be Opus One from California. Yurch and several others tell me they can tell which five wines are Chilean. I don't have a clue. Yurch says some of the tasters have traveled long distances to be here.

YURCH: This is a splendid panel, and it speaks to the quality of the wines offered.

ADLER: Steven Spurrier of Decanter magazine describes wine number three.

STEVEN SPURRIER: Fine, deep, slightly smoky, a black fruit nose, broad yet contained fruits, quite a rich sweetness on the palate, but...

ADLER: At the end, the Chilean wine KAI by Errazuriz comes in first, followed by Opus One from California, and Chateau Haut-Brion from France. Leslie Gevirtz of Reuters says this sure beats covering courts or cops.

GEVIRTZ: Today, we're tasting wines. The 2006s on the French, the Lafites, they went for well over $400 a bottle. There's no way you and I could afford this.

ADLER: Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.

SIEGEL: And just in case you're curious, that pricey bottle of Lafite, it landed in fifth place. And for a first place bottle of KAI 2006, you can pick that one up for around $80.

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