3 Chilean Wines You Should Add to Your Must Try List
I am always on a quest to find new wines with bold character, luscious notes and pair well with different foods. In my search I have come across 3 Chilean wines that might surprise you. I have tried many wines from South America and Chile in particular and I am finding Chile is a treasure trove of quality wines. Even nicer is that most of these wines are still priced less than comparable wines from other areas.
With the Atacama Desert to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, the Patagonian ice fields to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Chile is a veritable agricultural island. This vast diversity of terrains give way to vast variations in climates, making Chile a perfect environment for growing many types of grapes. This results in an excellent variety of wines, achieving high quality in all its expressions.
Chile is the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the ninth largest producer with the most common grapes being Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère.
This mosaic of climates and ‘terroirs’ combined with a vinicultural industry with few restrictions on the cultivation and production of wines, explains the success of Chilean wines around the world.
The first of the 3 Chilean Wines is the Casa Silva 2013 Los Lingues Carmenere. Casa Silva is now owned by Mario Silva and family – the fifth generation of winemakers. The original Carmenere vines were carried over from Bordeaux, France over 90 years ago by the 1st generation of the family. The Silva family is now considered a leader of wine production with many of their wines receiving international recognition. In fact, it is the most awarded Chilean Winery of the 21st century at International and National competitions. The 2013 was a particularly good year for the CS Los Lingues Carmenere located in the Colchagua Valley, bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Andes Mountains. This high point deep red wine has a nose of dark to black fruit, some spice and a slight hint of smokiness. On the palate there is a bold and juicy fruitiness and black pepper. The smooth tannins give this wine a long lingering finish with a touch of sweetness in the end. This wine pairs well with bold red meats and spicy dishes.
A second good bet is the 2013 Max Reserva Chardonnay from the historic Viña Errazuriz estate in the Aconcagua Costa, about 60 miles northwest of Santiago. This region is known for its crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay which have helped put Chile on the wine map. Aconcagua Costa is strongly influenced by the cooling effects of the Humboldt Current and it is this cooler climate that makes this regions white wines stand above their rivals. With a longer ripening period, the white grapes have more time to develop greater flavor complexity, while maintaining sugars and acids making them better balanced. Max Reserva Chardonnay named after Viña Errazuriz founder Don Maximiano Errazuriz, is a clear, pale yellow wine with notes of tropical and stone fruits. This wine is smooth and buttery with hints of spice and orange zest. The wine is barrel fermented and aged 10 months in French Oak. This is a nice balanced Chilean Chardonnay with a clean finish. Good food pairings for this wine would be seafood & seafood pasta, fresh vegetables, lamb loin chops and chicken.
The third and last wine to talk about today is the Viña Santa Rita Secret Reserve Red Blend 2011. This wine comes out of the Maipo Valley just south of Santiago. The Maipo Valley is one of Chile’s most important wine producing regions. Known as the ‘Bordeaux of South America’ this area is most known for Cabernet Sauvignon, its most popular wine type, with Bordeaux and Carmenere second and third. The Maipo Valley was also where the viticulture in Chile first started. The SR Secert Reserve Red Blend contains; 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Carmemere. The tasting notes are blackberry, plum and licorice. This is a very dry wine with oaky sipce that leaves a dry neat finish. This wine has good complexity for the $10 price bracket. Allow it to air for a while after opening. Good food pairing would be red meat, pasta or semi-ripe cheeses.
**Full Disclosure: I received product in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% mine.