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.
Not unattractive, with nice cinnamon, leafiness and leather to the overriding strawberry nose. Fairly soft and meaty on the palate, and sweet at the core. Finishes creamy and thick, almost on the border of syrupy. Imported by T.G.I.C. Importers.— M.S. (7/1/2005)
A full dose of bell pepper and black pepper aromas raises questions about ripeness, but the wine saves itself on the palate, where berry fruit, black olive and basil vie for attention. The finish is smooth and hangs around. Imported by Tri-Vin Imports.— M.S. (7/1/2005)
Unconventional on the nose, with hints of leather, raisin and corn chips. Mostly smooth from palate to finish, with flavors of berries, cherry and chocolate. Holds form on the finish, which is solid, chewy and fruity.— M.S. (7/1/2005)
Spicy up front, with aromas of tire rubber, forest and dried fruits. Decent levels of cherry and raspberry; while the finish has some mint. A touch green at the end, which brings it down. Imported by WTWM Imports.— M.S. (7/1/2005)
Coconut, charcoal, plum and cassis greet you, followed by somewhat raw plum and apple-skin flavors. Ends leathery, with a foreign briny flavor. Attacks well, but sharp acids hamper the balance. Imported by William Grant & Sons.— M.S. (7/1/2005)
Aromas of grapefruit, passion fruit and citrus lead the way. The palate deals more citrus and a touch of banana. A bit thinner than many, with a peppery, clean finish.— M.S. (2/1/2005)
Starts murky and muddled, with a heavy jam-like consistency. With time it opens to offer plum, cherry and a laudable mouthfeel. Yes, it’s prickly on the finish, with some light green notes, but it’s still good as a whole.— M.S. (2/1/2005)
Fairly smoky, with aromas of campfire and roasted corn. Woody on the palate, but also plenty of citrus in the form of lemon and orange. Consistent throughout, meaning the wood resin influence is primary.— M.S. (2/1/2005)