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

TerraNoble 2006 Vineyard Selection Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley)

  • Best Buy
  1. $8
In the lower depths of the value zone you’ll find this respectable Chard that offers light melon and tropical fruit aromas in front of lemon-lime flavors. This is a more acidic, citrusy style of wine, yet it’s flush and not at all sour.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

Aresti 2005 Carmenère (Curicó Valley)

  1. $9
Early aromas of balsam wood, green herbs and olive are backed by dark fruit notes, while the palate delivers playful raspberry flavors alongside olive. It’s a bit acidic but short on the finish. Typical and pretty good as a whole.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

Cono Sur 2005 The Southern Cone Syrah (Rapel Valley)

  1. $10
Boysenberry and raspberry aromas carry the fresh, snappy nose toward a tart but generally precise palate that really pours on the red fruit flavors. The feel is a touch jagged and sharp, but the wine’s core clarity and uncomplicated focus make it worthwhile.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

J. & F. Lurton 2005 Hacienda Araucano Carmenère (Central Valley)

  1. $11
Somewhat leafy and green, with dry aromas of spice and red fruit doing what they can to boost the wine. The palate offers raspberry and apple skin flavors along with scratchy, drying tannins. Not a lush wine but not bad in its weight and delivery.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

Luis Felipe Edwards 2005 Estate Shiraz (Colchagua Valley)

  • Best Buy
  1. $8
This little Shiraz has a good foundation to it. The nose is round and warm, with simple fruit and earth aromas. The palate is a touch tannic and rubbery, but it’s holding solid raspberry and red plum flavors. Somewhat on the sheer side, with enough character that it deserves a look.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

Nido de Aguila 2005 Reserva Syrah (Maipo Valley)

  1. $16
A little murky and rubbery, but not so much so that the wine completely suffers. It does have solid dark-fruit flavors and the mouthfeel is stout and sturdy, with proper tannins. Common stuff; no drama. Pretty good but nothing more.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

Santa Ines 2005 Reserva Chardonnay (Maipo Valley)

  1. $14
Starts with mild butterscotch and some apple before merging into a palate of spiced apple and melon. Seems a touch dilute and watery when put on the scale, so the score suffers a bit. Overall it’s pretty good but weak in the middle.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
84
points

Luis Felipe Edwards 2004 Family Selection Gran Reserva Shiraz (Colchagua Valley)

Full and chunky on the nose, with some wood shavings, spice and fairly smooth red fruit. The palate is zesty and bright; the cherry and plum flavors are a touch tart and lean, but they are tasty. Finishes racy and a little gritty courtesy of hard tannins.  — M.S.  (5/1/2007)
Showing 4,521 thru -4,528 of 5,774
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