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.
This SB smells neutral except for a pinch of grassy green. The palate is tangy, while citrusy flavors are not specific. On the finish, this is zesty at first and then falls off.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
Citrus and sweaty aromas require patience. This is juicy and citrusy in feel, with flavors of green fruits, lime in particular. A lightly vegetal finish offset by candied sweet notes makes this unfocused.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
Flat citrus and green-herb aromas are mealy. This is tangy and citrusy in the mouth, with orange and nectarine flavors. An adequate finish doesn’t show a lot of varietal character or crispness.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
Spicy plum and currant aromas have an earthy note about them. This feels raw and lean. Berry and plum flavors are candied, with oaky/spicy accents. On the finish, it’s peppery tasting then bitter once the fruit fades.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
Pithy citrus and nectarine aromas announce a palate that’s citrusy all the way. Flavors of orange, lemon and grapefruit keep a persistent citric character through the finish, which is basic but refreshing.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
Crisp citrus and jalapeño aromas offer a tropical fruit offset. This is citrusy in the mouth. Flavors of passion fruit and citrus are basic, while the finish echoes all that’s come before.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
There are woody aromas to the nose but little fruit. This is fresh but empty in the mouth, with woody flavors of barbecue and hickory but, once again, minimal fruitiness.— M.S. (11/1/2014)
Prickly, herbal berry aromas are gritty and then fall flat. This is big, grabby and clumsy on the palate, with flavors of roasted berry and green herbs. A soupy-tasting finish turns more green the longer it sits. From a hot vintage, this Carmenère tastes baked and compromised.— M.S. (11/1/2014)