About Chilean Wine

About Chilean Wine
Chile is today the 10th largest wine producing country in the world. Production is up slightly since 2010, but down a bit since 2012 and 2013. For years much of the wine was produced from the warm Central Valley, which corrected varietally correct, if unexciting whites and reds meant for retail stores.

While these wines still represent a large share of Chile's wine, the industry has made a necessary shift over the past ten years to producing more terroir-driven wines. Dozens of artisan producers in cool climates not far from the Pacific Ocean have planted varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc in greater numbers. In fact, this last variety has produced outstanding results in the San Antonio and Leyda valleys and has been praised my many critics as among the world's finest.

The most recognized Chilean wines, in terms of prestige, are the Cabernet Sauvignons of Maipo Valley, just south and east o the capital city of Santiago, are remarkable New World reds with ripe black currant fruit, good acidity and round, soft tannins. Many of these wines are capable of aging for 15-20 years, while a select few compare favorably with their premium counterparts from Napa Valley in California. However, as Chile does not have as esteemed a reputation as California, the Chilean Cabernets are much more reasonable priced.

Given the ideal climatic conditions throughout Chile -ample sunshine along with moderating breezes form the ocean and Andes, it stand to reason that Chilean wines will only improve in the future

Top Picks for Chile

Denada 2016  Cabernet Sauvignon
95 points
Best Buy
Dark dusty garnet color. Aromas of cumin, toasted walnut, marinated beef, and cedar with an fat body and an intricate, medium-long blackberry thicket, pink peppercorns, smoked tea, and minerals finish with leafy, woody, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A complex and substantial Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon with surprising depth, terroir and nuance; this could easily pass for a second growth Bordeaux.
95 points $7.99 Best Buy
Quasar 2016 Gran Reserva Merlot
94 points
Best Buy
Garnet black color. Earthy aromas and flavors of red cassis, wet earth, bay leaf, thyme, tannery, and dried mushrooms with a velvety, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a distinctive, medium-long mostarda finish with well-integrated, silky tannins and heavy oak. Layers of earthy flavors evolve on the palate; sip with steak.
Awards: '2018 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $20 and Under' Best Value Chilean Merlot Exceptional Value
94 points $20 Best Buy
Chocalan 2016 Origen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points
Best Buy
Black garnet color. Aromas of blackberry coulis, raspberry leaf, graphite, and fire-roasted bell peppers with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a warming, complex, long dark chocolate, pumpernickel, black cassis, jamón serrano, and black licorice finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A bold cabernet sauvignon with lots of spice and rich chocolate; worthy of a fine steak.
93 points $18 Best Buy
Echeverria 2016 Family Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points
Brown brick red color. Fruity, earthy aromas of ripe plums, pomegranate, leather saddle, cream soda, banana bread, peony petals, blueberry pastry, and exotic tea with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a smooth, subtle, long charcoal, black licorice, and charred spices finish with earthy, chewy tannins and heavy oak. A hearty, complex stunner from Chile with gobs of smoky oak, sensuous earth, and ripe fruits.
Quasar 2014  Cabernet Sauvignon
93 points
Black garnet color. Fruity aromas and flavors of black cherry, scented marker, raspberry jam, and eucalyptus with a round, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, engaging, medium-length dark chocolate and custard filled pastry finish with no oak. A wide appealing red with ample fruit and a toasty, creamy center.
Casas del Toqui 2016 Barrel Series Carmenere
93 points
Best Buy
Dull garnet black color. Aromas and flavors of toasty blueberry handpie, grilled veggies, eucalyptus, and violet with a velvety, crisp, fruity medium body and a silky, amusing, medium-length grilled watermelon and grenadine finish with medium, silky tannins and no oak. A silky Carmenère with a touch of sweetness; perfect for spicy fare.
93 points $17.99 Best Buy
Villarrica De Chile 2015 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon
92 points
Best Buy
Violet color. Aromas of dill, fennel, blackberry coulis, coconut macaroon, and sweet pea blossom with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length peanut brittle, leather, and stewed tomato with capers finish with medium, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A juicy cabernet that offers hints of fresh herbs and rich stewed fruit.
92 points $14.99 Best Buy
Quasar 2014 Perfecto Cabernet Sauvignon
92 points
Black garnet color. Funky aromas of pico de gallo, watermelon, tapenade, black currant, and fresh sweet herbs with a slightly chewy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a medium-length chocolate dipped raspberries, coriander, and anise finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A zesty cabernet with a fruity style and a restrained and appealing approach to Chile’s vegetal flair.
Sierra Batuco 2018 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc
92 points
Best Buy
Emerald straw color. Aromas of gooseberry, grass clippings, ruby red grapefruit, celery leaves, melon granita, cumin, and fennel and dill with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a graceful, interesting, long passionfruit, white pepper, cilantro, and pipi du chat finish with no oak. A nicely concentrated dry Sauvignon Blanc for true fans of the varietal.
Awards: '2018 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 White Wine $15 and Under' Best Value Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Exceptional Value
92 points $12 Best Buy
Quasar 2016 Gran Reserva Carmenere
92 points
Best Buy
Dark dusty ruby color. Attractive aromas and flavors of dried peach, beets, leather, autumn leaves, white bean minestrone, wild mint, herb focaccia, black pepper, and blueberry with a velvety, crisp, dryish medium-to-full body and a refreshing, long heirloom tomato, nutella, fruit leather, and brie finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. An old-world inspired Carmenère that will be beautiful with a thoughtful steak dinner.
Awards: '2018 World Value Wine Challenge-Top 10 Red Wine $20 and Under' Best Value Chilean Carmenère
92 points $20 Best Buy