“Time to trade in the Volvo”: Tim Atkin MW returns to Chile

Leading UK wine writer Tim Atkin MW launches his latest report, 15 years after his infamous Volvo comment upset so many Chilean wineries.

Tim Atkin MW, the well-respected and often outspoken British wine critic, today launches his latest regional report, covering the wines of Chile.  Six years after his previous visit, and over an intense three-week period of tasting, talking and visiting, Tim’s return to Chile saw a much-altered landscape.

Tim’s report features 730 wines from 131 wineries, and while there are many familiar names, there are many new ones too.

Describing Chile as “a South American success story”, Atkin says

“Chile is very different from louder, more Latin Argentina, but I’ve begun to appreciate its quieter, more contemplative side. In its own way, Chile is every bit as appealing as its Andean neighbour – a land of poets, stargazers and musicians as well as great chefs and winemakers.”

For this report, he has followed his own custom of sorting the wineries into a Bordeaux-style classification, which is sure to cause much lively debate.  He has also singled out three winemakers and six wines of the year for special awards.

Atkin feels that Chile as a whole has travelled a great distance from the country that he once memorably described as “the Volvo of the wine industry.” As he says, “there’s a bit more speed, style and danger about the place these days.”

Among other wine styles, Atkin singles out Limarí Chardonnay, Leyda Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Pinot Noir, Maipo Cabernet-based blends, Elquí Syrah, Colchagua Carmenère, Maule Carignan-based blends and Itata País as “outstanding and unique”, adding that Chile is only beginning to fulfill its true potential.


The full, 35,000-word report is available to download at:



Winemaker of the Year: Rafael Urrejola (Undurraga)

Young Winemaker of the Year: Leo Erazu (Rogue Vine)

Winemaking Legend: Pablo Morandé Senior (Morandé)

Overall White Wine of the Year: 2015 Errázuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay, Aconcagua Costa

Overall Red Wine of the Year: 2015 Viñedos de Alcohuaz Tococo Syrah, Elquí Valley

Overall Sweet Wine of the Year: 2013 Bodegas RE Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley

Overall Sparkling Wine of the Year: 2010 Ribera Pellín Brut Nature, Osorno

White Wine Discovery of the Year: 2015 Bouchon Semillon Granito, Maule Valley

Red Wine Discovery of the Year: 2016 Carmen D.O. Matorral Chileno, Central Valley