Young, dynamic vintners are producing a wide variety of wines throughout Chile. Some of them rival or surpass anything you’ll find in the U.S. (Photo: Bob Ecker)
Young, dynamic vintners are producing a wide variety of wines throughout Chile. Some of them rival or surpass anything you’ll find in the U.S. (Photo: Bob Ecker)

Chillin’ out in Chile

On a recent visit to Chile, our columnist sampled many wines and discovered a terrific Santiago restaurant.

On a recent visit to Chile, I sampled many wines, tasted up-and-coming varietals and met a host of young, dynamic vintners. I’m pleased to report that the country’s wines now offer excellence throughout the spectrum.

Though you may have heard that Carmenere grapes are Chile’s next big thing, Cabernet remains the number-one varietal here. The country’s Cabs rival or surpass those available in the U.S. Plus, there are quite a few Cabernet-dominant blends. I particularly enjoyed the Siegel Unique Selection 2011; the powerful Maipo Protegido 2010; Carmen’s Casa Real 2011 and  Wine Maker’s Reserves Cabernet Blend; and Montes’s Purple Angel.  

Chile’s vintners originally employed Carmenere as a blender and used it interchangeably with Merlot. Today, it is produced all over Chile. Ones I liked include the robust 2009 Viola by Maquis, a great blend of Carmenere and Cabernet Franc; the spicy Estate Carmenere from Errazuriz; and the 100 percent Carmenere 2011 from Santa Rita.

Winemakers in Chile are producing many outstanding cool-climate white wines, such as the crisp and delicious “1865” Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc; the Chardonnay from Talinay; and the sharp, dry and extremely drinkable Sauvignon Gris from the producer Lyeda. You’ll also discover noteworthy Rhone-style wines, among them the lovely Lapostolle Collection 2013 Mourvedra and the Blend Collection 2011 from Errazuriz.

See also: Gourmet on the Go: D.O. Restoran in Chile

 

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