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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.

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... 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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  1. Ladera Verde Merlot, Central Valley, 2015

    Ladera Verde Merlot, Central Valley, 2018 75cl

    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 medium body. Great on its own or with food, this is as versatile as it is delicious.

    More about this product
    £6.28
    6 or more
    £6.90
    each
    £5.23
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £5.75
    each Excl. VAT
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  2. Pato Torrente Merlot, Central Valley, 2014

    Pato Torrente Merlot, Central Valley, 2018 75cl

    Intensely fruity and fantastically textured. Well rounded with a good structure this wine is versatile and very, very enjoyable.

    More about this product
    £6.28
    6 or more
    £6.90
    each
    £5.23
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £5.75
    each Excl. VAT
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  3. San Carlos Malbec, Colchahua Valley

    San Carlos Malbec, Colchahua Valley, 2015 75cl

    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 notes that lend complexity. The palate has great structure accompanied by fresh natural acidity that lends balance and silkiness without losing the personality of flavours. 

    More about this product
    £20.26
    6 or more
    £23.00
    each
    £16.88
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £19.17
    each Excl. VAT
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  4. Ladera Verde Merlot, Central Valley (Half Bottle), 2015

    Ladera Verde Merlot, Central Valley Chile (Half Bottle), 2016 37.5cl

    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 medium body. Great on its own or with food, this is as versatile as it is delicious.

    More about this product
    £3.30
    6 or more
    £3.85
    each
    £2.75
    6 or more Excl. VAT
    £3.21
    each Excl. VAT
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