Extending 2653 miles, north to south and on average just 110 miles east to west, Chile is a country of extremes.
In the north, the Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth. By contrast, the southern tip of Chile is only a few hundred miles from Antarctica. But it’s the close proximity of the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west that calls the shots, enabling Chile to produce some of the most interesting, diverse and food friendly wines on the planet.
With dependable summers and plentiful Andean melt-water, ideal locations, harvest times and winemaking techniques, blends were quickly identified which means we can now enjoy Chile’s best ever wines. Here’s a look at three key wine categories and what to drink and eat from each.
Cool Climate Quality
Chile’s coastal regions are cooled by the Pacific Ocean, allowing vineyards to be planted closer to the equator which results in wines with higher acidity and elegant aromas. One such outstanding area is Leyda Valley, located less than seven miles from the Pacific. Here dynamic wineries such as Garcés Silva and Viña Leyda produce world class sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah.
2010 Amayna Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Fermented,
Viña Garcés Silva, Leyda Valley, £21
Amayna produce limited quantities of classy wines made in an old world style. Their beauty is extraordinary, gold and glistening in the glass with intense floral aromas of fresh exotic fruits. On the palate you can almost taste the ocean as the acidity hits and then gives way to rich notes of vanilla, honey and a long creamy finish. Try this with lobster from Pembrokeshire for the perfect food match.
2013 Las Brisas Pinot Noir, Viña Leyda, £13.50
Available from :
From a regional pioneer, this 2013 pinot noir is from the vineyard Las Brisas and again highlights the Pacific’s influence. It is aromatically fresh and complex on the nose, with hints of red cherries and a subtle wild herb note. In the mouth it’s juicy with ripe berries and a lovely ocean influenced crispness! Try with some line caught seabass and fresh truffles.
Price has long been the curse and the lifeblood of Chilean wineries. Plentiful sub-£6 Chilean sauvignon blancs and cabernet sauvignons have led to wide recognition and financial stability, but it has masked where the real value is: at £10-£15.
2013 Carmen Gran Reserva, Carmenère, Colchagua Valley £10.65
Founded in 1850, Carmen was Chile’s first wine producer and, consequently, cherry-picked vineyards in some of Chile’s finest winegrowing areas. This
carmenère is from Colchagua Valley and aged in French oak barrels it has intense aromas of red fruits mingled with sweet spice and tobacco. Silky and full bodied in the mouth with a beautiful long finish. Ideal companion for a rib of beef.
2014 Outer Limits Zapallar Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Viña Montes, Aconcagua Valley, £14.95
A superb sauvignon blanc from Chile’s premium producer, Montes, it starts with intense citrus on the nose and then wallops you in the mouth with a juicy
crisp palate of lime, pears and tangerine. A delicious spicy note on the finish leaves you demanding more. Try with fresh oysters or scallop sashimi.
World Class Reds
As is the same the world over, it is impossible to take price out of the equation when it comes to Chile’s best wines. However, value, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while pricier these two wines are at the top of the Chilean tree.
2012, Gê, Emiliana, Colchagua Valley, £30
This blend of syrah, carmenère and cabernet sauvignon is rightly regarded as one of Chile’s finest red wines. The nose is elegant with ripe black fruit and a touch of truffle and spice. In the mouth there’s plenty of rich ripe fruit with soft, velvety tannins providing elegant structure and complexity. Voluptuous, ripe and truly seductive - amazing stuff. Try with wild rabbit.
2012 Amayna Pinot Noir, Vina Garcés Silva, £21
This incredible pinot noir by Amayna is a textured, silky barnstorming wine that sums up everything that makes Chile a world class wine producer. A seductive perfume of cherries on the nose followed by an incredible velvety mouth feel. Spicy fruit, fine tannins, complexity and a long finish round off a superb act. Pair with roast pork.
Chilean wines are creating heat among experts. Adam Pledger from Park House,