Wines of Chile 101

Taking a look at the where, what, whys and whens of Chile


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Today
Today it is those ancient clones of Cabernet, Merlot and Merlot that produce some of the greatest wines in Chile. Yes, I wrote Merlot twice because Chile’s greatest wine, Carmenere, had been mistaken for Merlot when the original vines were imported and was only discovered to be something other than  so-called early Merlot in 1994. And while we’re at it early Merlot is an odd designation for a grape that may ripen early than Merlot but never achieves the richness and lushness of fruit that Merlot does. 
 
Chile is successful in the marketplace with some powerful Cabernet based wines, but their more recent successes are being built on more elegant wines. Bright and easy to drink and pair with food, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and Carmenere are appealing to a new generation of drinkers who look for something other than yet another Cabernet Sauvignon.  
 

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Comments

  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 755

    "In the north of the country vineyards in the ocean cooled Limari Valley are proving particularly well suited to Chardonnay..."

    Indeed! The Concha Y Toro, Casillero del Diablo Chardonnays of recent vintages (2010, 11 & 12) were all from Limari and were successful. They are a big, rich, sappy style but with the necessary acid to carry them. Older vintages were from Casablanca Valley.

    Oct 28, 2013 at 6:37 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 202,080

    Nice observation. Thanks for that!

    Oct 28, 2013 at 7:44 PM


  • Snooth User: sometime66
    1347805 7

    Concha y Toro 'Marques de Casa Concha' Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto $20
    Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley $18
    Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley $15
    Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley $15

    are all cabs from the same area and particularly the Concha y Toro 'Marques de Casa Concha' Cabernet Sauvignon, Concha y Toro 'Marques de Casa Concha' Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto $20 from the same vineyard as the highly overpriced "Don Melchoir", just not from a barrel picked to be bottled as "Don Melchoir". Same vineyard, same picking, same vinafication. All of the above mentioned wines are excellent buys. As is any wine from the Santa Digna (owned by Miguel Torres, Spain) label. If you're into late harvest wines look for the Santa Digna Late Harvest Reisling. Mind boggling, save $100+ over a German or French Late Harvest...Enjoy.

    Oct 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM


  • Yesterday I was at a tasting with the Chilean Icons, organized by Patricio Tapia + Wines of Chile (Sao Paulo, Brazil): Don Maximiano 2010 and 2000, Don Melchior 2010 + 1996; Casa Real 2010 + 2002; Altair 2010 + 2002;Lapostolle 2010 + 2002; Montes Folly Syrah 2010 + 2000. The older wines were great, but Follies Syrah 2000 (2010 was much better, because 2000 was a young vine). Casa Real 1996 is ready, to drink this year. Last week I spent few days in Santiago visiting Cousino Maculsituated at Maipo (by the way, Antiguas Reservas Cab is a best buy, and if you have a chance, try Antiguas Reserva Syrah) Maipo is a great terroir for cabs. San Antonio great for Sauvignon Blanc as in Casa Marin.

    Oct 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM


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