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
220680
Paskua Land
2014 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Dusty dusty ruby color. Fruity aromas of charred green pepper, star anise, balsamic reduction, and fig paste with a slightly chewy, lively, dryish medium-full body and a medium-length chocolate covered espresso bean, fresh mint, rosemary, and black pepper and smoked vanilla finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and light oak. A juicy wine that begs another sip.
94 points $9.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
221002
In Situ
2016 Riverside White Blend Aconcagua Valley
Yellow color. Fruity, umami aromas and flavors of green apple, lemon-lime, pear, and vanilla with a soft, bright, dry medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long finish with a suggestion of oak. A full-bodied white food wine with excellent structure.
94 points $11 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218996
Axel
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Garnet black color. Spicy, herbal aromas and flavors of blue eucalyptus, menthol mint, and blueberry cobbler with a silky, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, engaging, long spiced berries and blood oranges, pistachio and cherry and watermelon gelati finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and light oak. A rich, spicy cabernet with impressive complexity and depth.
94 points $18 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
221067
Bottero
2013 Syrah Capicua Blend Cachapoal Valley
Ruby black color. Savory aromas and flavors of olives, roasted pepper, sundried cherries and tomatoes, and hint of braised meat with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, layered, medium-long borscht and vanilla nuts finish with silky tannins and light oak. A delightfully flavorful and savory red blend that will be great with dinner.
93 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220950
Sierras de Bellavista
2015 Single Vineyard Merlot
Dusty garnet black color. Mature aromas of rose scented black tea, forest floor, soy-ginger glazed Chinese sausage, and white pepper and ripe red watermelon with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry medium-full body and a peppery, nuanced, medium-long cherry and dried chipotle pepper, anise and blood orange, raspberry jam filled dark chocolate, and sautéed mushrooms finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak. This Bordeaux inspired red from Chile will be a knockout at a dinner party.
93 points $9.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
221001
In Situ
2015 Spaghetti Red Blend Aconcagua Valley
Dusty garnet black color. Herbal aromas of lavender, rosemary, menthol, and sour cherry with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-length cherry mostarda, toast points, savory basil, and chocolate orange and vanilla creme Anglaise finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. An elegant and mature red for great meals.
93 points $11 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220907
Balduzzi
2014 Estate Bottled Gran Reserve Maule Valley
Black violet color. Aromas of prune, speck, blackberry preserve, and chopped green onion with a chewy, lively, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long smoked duck pate, rosemary and black olive, mocha, and fine leather and tobacco finish with firm, grippy tannins and moderate oak. A rich and long-lasting Cabernet for any steak.
93 points $18.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218997
Axel
2014 Primero Red Blend Colchagua Valley
Violet color. Aromas and flavors of clay, pickled citrus peels, herbed berries, and butter roasted nuts with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, delightful, medium-long blueberry pie a la mode, eucalyptus honey, and spiced nuts finish with fine, silky tannins and moderate oak. An impressive, spicy red blend with a stately, poised style.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217286
La Marina
2014 Reserva Carmenere
Opaque violet color. Spicy, herbal aromas and flavors of pickled cucumbers and peppers, borscht, dried berries, and leather with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, complex, medium-long pomegranate chutney and crushed nuts finish with fine, dusty tannins and a suggestion of oak. A complex, savory Chilean red with a very Old World character.
93 points $9.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217279
Balduzzi
2013 Grand Reserve Maule Valley
Dark garnet color. Smoky aromas and flavors of cornichon and pickled pepper, olive tapenade, and smoked berries and nuts with a velvety, vibrant , dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a long cassis tart, spiced nuts, and pencil shavings finish with woody tannins. A complex nuanced red blend with a savory style and sumptuous.
93 points $18.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab