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Chile

Chile

A haven in the 1990s for those with an eye for everyday drinking at great value prices, Chile has kept this string to its bow whilst producing ever more quality wines with exciting potential. 

Cabernet Sauvignon remains at the heart of the industry, but Chile is proving to be an accommodating home for a suite of Old World varieties.

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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A wine with firm structure, plenty of body and black fruit flavours. The variety has benefited hugely from advances in wine making techniques, as it i... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    • Lolo
    An explosion of blackcurrant fruit on the nose gives way to complex notes of spice and a light woodiness on the palate. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Supple red fruits on the palate are supported by smokey notes and a crispness on the finish. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Dark purple in colour with aromas of red fruit and spice. In the mouth it is big and full, with smoke and spice coming to the fore, the creamy finish ... Read More
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    £9.85 exc VAT
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A well rounded wine that balances spice with blueberry fruit character and firm tannin. The oak brings vanilla to equation making for a deep and excit... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A stunning scented Merlot with a full and pleasing length and depth of flavour. Loads of plummy fruit flavour are well complimented by soft tannin and... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    An easy and moreish well balanced Cabernet with good fruit and long finish. Smooth, fruity and very likeable. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A light body disguises lovely cherry flavour in the mouth. American oak aging gives a subtle, underlying vanilla influence and depth of flavour. Great... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A wonderful ruby red colour with aromas of plums and cherries with subtle hints of spice, chocolate and coffee. Soft and well rounded on the palate wi... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Full and round, this generous dry red wine has a strong, spicy character with generous flavours of cassis and red cherries on the palate. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Intensely fruity and fantastically textured. Well rounded with a good structure this wine is versatile and very, very enjoyable. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    This wine is an intense, dark ruby-red colour. The nose is fresh and fruity with notes of ripe tart fruits such as plums and cherries along with spicy... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    This is a complex and serious wine. The nose shows dark fruits, a mixture of spices and some leather. Firm tannins support flavours of bitter chocolat... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Rich dark cherry and ripe plum flavours on nose. Smooth, soft and delicious. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Bright plum aromas carry through to a palate that has bags of fruit flavour and a smooth finish.  Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Spiced pear and honey flavours are balanced with a crisp finish. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Characteristicly floral and spicy, this wine is a perfect match for Asian food. The surrounding wild Rosemary meadows of the Colchagua Valley enhance ... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Aromas of lime and grapefruit accompany floral notes, with a crisp texture and delicate mineral character. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A fine nose of limes, nectarine and white flowers moves to an elegant and refined palate. Fresh but balanced with a slightly honeyed texture. Lemon, l... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Clean, fresh Chardonnay aromas of pineapple and pear with the dense body and floral touch of Viognier. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A deliciously crisp Sauvignon Blanc with the vibrant bouquet so typical of this grape variety. A brilliant find. Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    Fresh, ripe exotic fruit characters abound in this consistently high-quality wine from Chile. Read More
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    • Origin
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    Soft, pale straw in colour this wine has an intensely floral nose with hints of ripe peach. Full and rounded on the palate ending with a long honey li... Read More
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    • Origin
    • Chile
    A pure unoaked Chardonnay from Chile. A medium-bodied wine with lemony citrus fruit. Read More
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It also has its very own grape, the Carmenère, which is all but extinct in its native Bordeaux.  The sky, it would seem, is the limit for the wines of Chile.

History

The Spanish may have imported the vine along with conquistadores, but it took the arrival of the French for wine to take off.  Their culture was much in vogue in the Chile of the 19th century and French winemakers were encouraged to impart their ideas.  This sowed the seeds of prosperity and, when the worldwide epidemic of phylloxera did not make it to Chile, everywhere was suddenly demanding its wine.  However, politics ensured that this golden age was lost and it was not until the fall of Pinochet in 1989 that exports took another spectacular turn.

The Classification System

A system does exist, named the appellation contrôlée in deference to the influence of the French, that divides the wine country into region, sub-region and zone.  As with elsewhere in the New World, it is delimited by geography rather than tradition and has little real significance to the consumer as yet.  However, as the Colchagua Valley zone within the Rapel Valley sub-region of the Central Valley region begins to flourish, the signs are that one day the classification will carry some weight.

Climate and Conditions

Known for being exceptionally long and thin, only the middle third of Chile produces quality wine.  Of more significance is its position between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean and the variations in altitude, temperature and rainfall this brings.   The majority of wine regions are hot and dry in summer, harnessing snowmelt from the mountains to water their vines, but cooler climates are being explored with immediate results.

The Wines of Today

Chile continues to produce value for money, enjoyable wines that are the envy of the world.  What they have started to do is add genuine quality and diversity to their range.  Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay remain at the core, but Viognier, Gewürztraminer and, most successfully, Pinot Noir are emerging.  Carmenère, only identified as distinct from Merlot in 1994, has given the country a grape of its own.  Most exciting of all, domestic consumption remains low and so most of this wine will keep coming our way.

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