TOP TEN CHILEAN WINES

By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 12 Septembr 2015

Chile offers fantastic value for money when it comes to fruit forward quaffing whites and reds.  We tasted our way through 30 different examples picked randomly from supermarkets and wine merchants – here are our favourite five white and five red from our taste test:


WHITES

Conosur RieslingCONO SUR RIESLING RESERVA 2013
(£8.99 Tesco; Morrisons)
Alcohol 13.5%

Cool Bio Bio region in southern Chile is producing the best Rieslings from South America to date.  Vines are now maturing here in this remote region – this wine is made from 19 year old vines by winemaker Adolfo Hurtado.  It has a delicious limey mandarin flavour with minerally undertones and lots of zestiness.  If you usually buy Australian dry Riesling, try this Chilean example available at a crackingly good price.   STAR BUY

THE SOCIETY’S CHILEAN LIMARI CHARDONNAY 2014
(£6.50 www.thewinesociety.com)
Alcohol 13.5%

One of the cheapest Chilean Chardonnays we tasted – but it hit the jackpot with its delicious refreshing zippy palate.  Hints of nuttiness, citric fruit flavours and a touch of oak (from 10% oak) remind you that this is a Chardonnay – but it does have a certain zesty sleekness you often find more in Sauvignon Blanc.  A great price for an easy going Chilean quaffer.  STAR VALUE BUY

EL VIEJO DE VALLE SAUVIGNON GRIS 2013
(£9.75 Vino Wine Shops, Edinburgh www.vinowines.co.uk)
Alcohol 13%

Something a bit different with a fun label too – named after ‘The Old Man of the Valley’.  Fed up with Sauvignon Blanc, try its lesser known ancient sibling Sauvignon Gris.  It has plenty of pungent aroma like its cousin, but more citric fruit flavour with lemon, grapefruit and melon fruits – and a richer creamier texture – but it is still unoaked, zippy and fresh.  Made by Eric Monnin in Casablanca Valley, the home of Chile’s top whites.

MATETIC CORRALILLO SAN ANTONIO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014
(£7.95 www.thewinesociety.com)
Alcohol 13.5%

The Matetic winery is based in a stunning setting in Rosario valley, a sub-region of the San Antonio wine region.  The vineyards – all farmed organically – are all surrounded by acres of farmland.  Just inland from the coast, they benefit from cool ocean breezes so it is ideal here for the Sauvignon Blanc grape.  Juicy fresh green apple and grapefruit notes, savoury undertones – a very fresh appealing aperitif.

AMELIA CHARDONNAY 2012 Concha y Toro
(£22.99 www.noblegreenwines.co.uk; www.houseoftownend.com)
Alcohol 14.5%

Burgundy fans should try this elegantly oaked Chardonnay made by giants Concha y Toro which won Premium White trophy at the recent Wines of Chile Awards.  Hazelnut, vanilla and citrus fruit aromas, rich minerally palate with good complexity and character – just shows what Chile can do in the Burgundian style. 

                                                                                        

REDS

ANAKENA ‘ONA’ PINOT NOIR 2012
(£11 Oddbins)
Alcohol 13.5%

Anakena was one of the most popular wineries that we visited during my wine tour to Chile – and this was the most popular wine.  An unusual Pinot Noir with a little addition of Merlot, Viognier and Syrah in the blend to add an unusual plummy and spicy note.  Vina Anakena in Rapel Valley south of Santiago was set up by two school friends, Felipe Ibanez and Jorge Gutierrez who have named this premium wine Ona after the Chilean Patagonian tribe who were renowned for their courage and daring.  Try this luscious ripe Pinot Noir with herb crusted slow cooked pork.
                      

Tabali Reserva SyrahTABALI RESERVA SYRAH 2013

(£12.99 www.virginwines.co.uk)

Alcohol 14%
This wonderful velvet smooth Syrah hails from northerly Limari valley – once the home of grapes for Pisco brandy – now a great source for Rhone grapes grown in Chile.  This Syrah has a fabulous earthy pepperiness, vanilla undertones and beautifully soft tannins. Like many New World Syrahs it has a hefty alcohol, but it is well balanced.  Check out Tabali’s other Syrah cuvees available in Majestic Wine (£10.99), Waitrose (£9.99) and The Wine Society (£9.95).

CASA DEL BOSQUE GRAN RESERVA SYRAH 2012
(£13.95-£14.95 www.oldbridgewine.co.uk; www.winestrust100.co.uk; www.rudewines.co.uk)
Alcohol 14%

Made by New Zealander Grant Phelps in Chile.  This Syrah hails from the hillsides of Casablanca valley near Santiago.  A fabulous characterful wine with rich blueberry, liquorice and spicy aromas, deep concentrated fruits and a long length and understated oak notes (from 12 months in French oak).  This wine won Best in Show at the recent Wines of Chile Awards. It shows more resemblance to northern Rhone Syrah than New World Shiraz.  Great price too.    STAR BUY

MARQUES DE CASA MERLOT 2012 Concha y Toro
(£11.99 Waitrose; Tesco)
Alcohol 14.5%

Giants Concha y Toro make this juicy cherry fruited Merlot in big volume.  If you like Merlot with spicy vanilla oak notes, with a sweet fruit forward style and smooth soft tannins you will enjoy this with your roast beef.  Made by Concha y Toro’s whizz kid winemaker Marcelo Papa.

TASTE THE DIFFERENCE CURICO VALLEY CHILEAN MERLOT 2013
(£8 Sainsbury’s)
Alcohol 13%

This was the best supermarket own label Chilean wine we tasted.  This 100% Merlot is made by Errazuriz from vineyards in southern Curico valley.  Part oak aged (20% aged in French oak of which 15% was new oak) it has a very glossy slick feel to it with its bright plummy fruits and smooth silky tannins.   STAR VALUE BUY


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