Exclusive interview with Patricio Tapia of Wine & Spirits magazine

In the midst of a rigorous tasting session for his popular wine guide, “Descorchados,” acclaimed Chilean journalist Patricio Tapia welcomed Wines of Chile into his world for an exclusive interview.

“These are really crazy times,” said Tapia amiably, taking a short break from serious discussions on tannins and maturity to speak with us about his career and Chilean wine instead.

Tasting for “Descorchados” began more than one month ago and will continue until mid-October. This activity has been an annual event for Tapia since he began writing the guide to South American wines in 1999.

In addition to producing “Descorchados,” Tapia works as a critic for Wine & Spirits Magazine, covering topics related to wine in Spain and South America. He also appears as a host on El Gourmet, a Spanish-language television channel.

Tapia credits his innate sense of curiosity for his success as a journalist and wine expert.

“I have the feeling that curiosity is a key word in your life,” he remarked thoughtfully. “I like wine, of course, but I like movies, I like literature, I like art, I like many things. Every time I see a movie or I listen to a record, I face that with a lot of curiosity, trying to learn much more about the guy who is playing or the guy who is painting or the guy who is making the wine.

“So that’s kind of a journalist approach,” he explained. “But I’m basically a reporter.”

Tapia’s investigative instincts and journalistic philosophy inspired him to pursue studies in wine tasting and winemaking at University of Bordeaux in France, following his graduation from University of Santiago with a degree in journalism.

This educational experience – and Tapia’s proven literary skills – led to a position writing for Wine & Spirits magazine, a prestigious publication in the wine community. As a native Chilean, born to a family of wine collectors, Tapia was a natural choice to critique South American wines, and Chilean wines in particular.

On his website, Vinorama, Tapia writes about Chile as an awakening nation, a “mundo distinto” – or “distinct world” – undergoing a rousing vinicultural evolution.

“Chile is changing a lot,” he told us, adding that “there is another face of Chilean wine, and that face is related to people who are trying to do what they want and do what they feel.

“So there are a lot of things going on in Chilean wine right now.”

Tapia’s vanguard perspective on wine is evident in his prolific written work, where he refers to “el viaje del vino” – “the journey of wine” – which is a general approach to life that involves savoring variety, abandoning preconceptions, and remaining open to stimulating experiences and flavors.

“I am really happy about what’s going on in Chile,” he continued in our interview. “There are a lot of people emerging right now, producing really interesting wines from everywhere.”

With Tapia’s internationally-published appraisal and inspiration, Chile’s enticing vinific treasures will continue to be tasted by receptive and excited palates, with unlimited potential, propagating the “viaje del vino” throughout the world.

By Gretchen Stahlman, written for Wines of Chile
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