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Plenty to Discover

Discover the wines of Chile

Chile produces seven wine varieties from six different regions in the country, giving you plenty to discover in this exceptional new world wine region.

By Samantha Priestley

The unusual long and thin shape of Chile means it’s a place of contrasting landscapes which undoubtedly has an influence on the inspiring selection of wines produced here. Whether you’re familiar with Chilean wines or not, you’ll recognize the grape types on the labels and you’ll know as soon as you taste them just how good they are.

The large wine region of Aconcagua produces some of the most interesting Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, especially in the more coastal areas of Leyda Valley, Casablanca Valley, and San Antonio. Similar to a Californian Chardonnay, the Chilian white is fruity but with extra acidity.

Just slightly south of here, but still in central Chile, is the wine region of Rapel where a very interesting Carmanere is produced. The rumour is that this was meant to be a Merlot, but Carmanere grapes were planted by mistake. This mistake has turned out to be a lucky one, as the region now produces a peppery, black cherry Carmanere that’s in a league of its own. 

Sprawling over the borders of these two South American regions is the up and coming Syrah wine. Becoming more popular, Syrah is one of the most proliferating of grapes. It sometimes grows alongside Chardonnay, but it also does well in more extreme regions like Limari and Elqui to the north. Syrah is an elegant wine and the Chilean Syrah is bolder than others with plummy and spicy notes.

Following the trail of Syrah and traveling north to the Elqui Valley and the Colchagua Valley, you’ll discover Sauvignon Blancs that are citrussy and zesty. The vineyards in this region are protected from the glare of the sun and they line the valleys in small batches. This makes them sparse and something to savour. If you like a Sauvignon Blanc, try a Sauvignon Gris. The Chilean Sauvignon Gris has been grown here for over a hundred years. Once neglected and almost forgotten, it now blossoms as a more aromatic alternative to its famous sister.

If you want to explore some further tastes, Carignan from central Chile and Listan Prieto aren’t new wines but they are novel. In fact, they’ve been around for a while, but they are only just finding a foothold with wine lovers. These wines are mostly produced by small vineyards who have a real love for the wine they make.

Published 03.02.22