Wines of Chile: Final Thoughts on an Amazing Trip



By Kori ~ February 13th, 2013.

Over the past few months, I have highlighted some of the people and places I encountered on my media trip to Chile in October. Chile is a long, narrow country that runs 2,600 miles along the southwestern coast of South America between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. But don’t let its geography fool you, there is more climatic and soil diversity found east to west than from north to south. Spanish settlers first planted wine grapes in Chile around 1550. While Chile has a long wine history, I believe that it is just now coming into its own as a world-class wine region. Chile is producing some excellent wines, has wonderful welcoming people, and is a beautiful area to boot. It truly is a special place.

For easy reference, here are links to my previous posts about my media trip to Chile:
Wines of Chile: Exploring Terroir
Wines of Chile: An Overview
Wines of Chile: Casablanca Valley
Wines of Chile: Maipo Valley
Wines of Chile: Cachapoal Valley
Wines of Chile: Colchagua Valley
Wines of Chile: Maule Valley

Before filing away my notes, I want to mention the wines I tasted that were not from a Chilean wine region that I highlighted in a previous post.

2012 Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc (Central Valley, Chile): Pale straw yellow. Nice nose with lemon, lime, and grassy aromas and flavors. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a medium to long finish. A bit thin on the mid-palate.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $8.99

2012 Santa Rita Medalla Real Sauvignon Blanc (Leyda Valley, Chile): Pale straw yellow with green tinges. Nice nose with soft, elegant aromas of melon and minerality. More melon and minerality as well as tropical fruit comes through on the palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish. A food wine.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

2011 Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay (Central Valley, Chile): Pale to medium straw yellow. Aromatic with apple, pear, and lemon cream pie on the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with lively acidity and a medium to long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $8.99

2010 Santa Rita Medalla Real Chardonnay (Leyda Valley, Chile): Medium yellow with green tinges. Nice nose with apple and creamy aromas. Apple, cream, and butter come through on the palate. Dry and light to medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

2010 Santa Rita Reserva Carmenere (Rapel Valley, Chile): Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with black fruit, eucalyptus, and vegetal aromas. Black fruit, green pepper, and a touch of oak come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with lively acidity, medium, smooth tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $12.99

2012 Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (Leyda Valley, Chile): Very pale, greenish straw yellow. Nice nose with lime, grapefruit, and lemon peel aromas and flavors. Dry and light-bodied with tart acidity and a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $10-12

2012 Santa Carolina Reserva Moscato (Elqui Valley, Chile): Pale straw yellow. Aromatic with apricot, melon, and a touch of honey on both the nose and palate. Off-dry and light to medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $10-12

2009 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmenere (Rapel Valley, Chile): Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with aromas and flavors of black cherry, black plum, spice, floral notes, and a touch of green pepper. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high, dry tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail Price: $17-20

And, finally, here are a few tidbits about Chilean wine and culture that were shared with me by some of the Chilean winemakers I met:

  • Chile is fairly conservative for Latin America.
  • Chileans are relatively shy, reserved people as compared to other Latin Americans.
  • Chileans are proud of their country but have not always been bold about expressing it. Historically, Chile has not been very good in sports, which contributes to their lack of patriotism and pride. They are now working to create a strong brand and identity with wine.
  • Chilean Wine = Soil + Climate + Culture

I look forward to visiting Chile again someday, and I encourage you to put it on your “places to visit” list too. For more information about Chilean wine country, visit the Wines of Chile site. And if you are planning a trip there anytime soon (which I highly recommend), feel free to ask me any questions about the area in the comments below or via our Contact Us form. I’m happy to help if I can.

Salud!


Filed under: Carmenere, Chardonnay, Chilean Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Moscato/Muscat, Red Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, White Wine, Wine Travel, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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