Want to help save the planet? Drink Chilean wine

Vina Ventisquero's Yali wines
Vina Ventisquero's Yali wines

At the risk of sounding a bit like a weather forecaster, an end to the dry period is now in sight.

Well-done to those with such will power as to resist a glass of wine for a whole month.

Another New Year’s Resolution in the bag. Talking of which, a great many of us have made all sorts of resolutions to help ‘save the planet’ in one way or another.

Using less plastic, focusing more on re-cycling, riding a horse to work rather than taking the car, and other such laudable efforts, though the last one may be a little impractical, as few offices have stables these days!

Another great way of helping the environment is to support the many nature and wildlife projects, both local and global and as an erstwhile biologist, ornithologist and member of the RSPB for over 40 years, this is something very close to my heart.

One way of helping is to drink more Chilean wine. A rather incongruous idea you may think, but the Yali Wild Swan wines from the Chilean producer Vina Ventisquero are wines with an environmental conscience. Recently migrated to the shores of the UK, there is a Sauvignon Blanc and a Merlot, both from the 2018 vintage and available from your local Co-op at the fabulous price of £7.50 a bottle.

The wines are named Yali after the Yali Wetland in central Chile, which has been a protected ecological reserve since 1996 and is home to 176 species of birds, including wild swans. The Vina Ventisquero winery shares the same valley and was the first winery in the country to obtain the ‘Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile’ accreditation for the whole of its vineyards. The company practices eco-friendly winemaking, with sustainable management, use of organic products to combat pests and diseases and controlled irrigation to save water.

Sustainability and deep respect for the environment are at the heart of the of the Yali philosophy.

“Making wine is a creative process that leaves a legacy and should not happen at the expense of our planet,” says Yali’s winemaker Sergio Hormazabal. He believes that by working in partnership with the environment better wines are created with increased freshness and intensity.

Using modern winemaking techniques, The Yali Wild Swan Sauvignon Blanc 2018 has fresh, vibrant acidity, medium body and intense aromas of citrus and tropical fruits. Delicious as an aperitif or with a cheese and vegetable quiche.

The red, made from the Merlot grape variety, is rich and soft with dark fruit character of black cherries and plums. The cooling effect of fresh winds from the Pacific Ocean allows the fruit to ripen slowly, resulting in greater elegance in the wine and gentle oak treatment has given flavours of vanilla, cinnamon and tobacco.

Enjoy with a hearty pasta dish or beef casserole on a cold winter’s evening.

Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Twitter @richardwje. Visit www.winewyse.com.

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