Contributing Editor


Reviews wines from Argentina, Chile and Spain.

Chilean Wines

Among New World wine-producing countries, Chile has earned a reputation as a value leader, with many good-to-excellent wines priced under $15 a bottle. Which isn’t to say that the Chilean wine region doesn’t produce its share of top-flight wines as well; in fact, some of its red varietals and blends can compete with the great wines of the New and Old World.

If one grape is king in the Chilean wine regions, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon, which since the dawning of Chile’s wine industry in the 1850s has consistently succeeded in the country’s warm, dry, Pacific Ocean-and-Andes influenced climate. Other red varieties in Chile are Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Malbec and the signature Carmenère, a Bordeaux variety now found almost exclusively in Chile (98% of the world’s Carmenère is grown there). As for white wines, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc has become increasingly popular and performs well when grown close to the cool Pacific; Chardonnay is also ubiquitous in Chile.

Regionally speaking, most Chilean winegrapes are grown in a number of river-fed valleys in the central portion of this long, thin country, including Maipo, Casablanca, Rapel, Colchagua, Curicó and Maule. In recent years, wineries have expanded the grape belt to Bío Bío in the cool and sometimes wet south as well as Limarí and Elqui in the dry, breezy north.

Wine Enthusiast’s Buying Guide features thousands of Chilean wine ratings from all over the country. Conduct a quick and easy search to find ratings from your favorite producers to access the Chilean wine guide.

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84
points

Tres Palacios 2010 Reserve Carmenère (Maipo Valley)

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  1. $12
Spicy, dry and leafy aromas control the lightweight bouquet. The palate on this wine feels dry and raw, while a buttery oak note supports the herbal, spicy and brambly flavors and the fiery, short finish.  — M.S.  (3/1/2013)
84
points

Tres Palacios 2010 Reserve Merlot (Maipo Valley)

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  1. $12
Light in color, this has a nose that’s defined by a leafy, herbal red-fruit aroma and a rubbery scent. The palate is light in feel and drying, with a spicy, dry red-fruit flavor and a buttery oak tone. Mellow and leafy on the finish.  — M.S.  (3/1/2013)
84
points

Undurraga 2010 T.H. Carignan (Maule Valley)

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  1. $25
This is bold and bullish, but also acidic and raw in feel. The opening berry aroma conveys a wild side, and the mouth is racy and grating, with the feel of fruit skin and flavors of plum and cherry. This captures the rugged, hard-core side of Maule Carignan.  — M.S.  (3/1/2013)
84
points

Viña el Aromo 2010 Artemisa Late Harvest Muscat d'Alexandrie (Itata Valley)

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  1. $15
The nose on this Muscat is flat and smells like applesauce and peach syrup. Surprisingly, the palate is bright in feel, with ample acids and flavors of tangy peach, apricot and honey.  — M.S.  (3/1/2013)
84
points

Undurraga NV Titillum Original Sparkling (Leyda Valley)

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  1. $40
This heavy bubbly has aromas of matchstick, burnt grass and apple. It feels jagged and foamy, with mealy apple and hay flavors. The finish is fresh and lively, but it turns bitter as it fades.  — M.S.  (12/1/2012)
84
points

François Lurton 2012 Hacienda Araucano Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (Lolol Valley)

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  1. $11
The standard Sauvignon Blanc aromas of lime and mineral define the nose of this wine. It tastes juicy to an extreme, with fruit flavors of nectarine and apple that don’t rise to a high level. It’s tangy, candied and bright on the finish.  — M.S.  (12/1/2012)
84
points

Root:1 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley)

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  1. $12
Pungent up front, with green herb, white pepper and citrus aromas, this is zesty and acidic on the palate, with a monotonous lemon flavor on the finish. It turns more tart and acidic as it airs.  — M.S.  (12/1/2012)
84
points

Cono Sur 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Central Valley)

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  1. $12
On the nose, this smells like bath soap or air freshener. It feels fleshy and oily on the palate, with tropical flavors of banana and papaya. The finish is smooth and tastes of candy.  — M.S.  (12/1/2012)
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