A Matter of Taste: hot Wines of Chile

Chile is one of the world's most exciting wine regions.  Uniquely shaped with wine terroir that varies from West to East, Chile benefits from the cool Humbolt currents off the Pacific Ocean on the West and the varied altitudes of the Andes Mountains on the East creating unique microclimates and variation from North to South. As the only major wine producing country untouched by the nasty phylloxera mite that nearly wiped out wine production in Europe in the 19th Century, Chile can claim to have the most indigenous and pure rootstock in the world.  As a result of the bio-climate the vines and the resulting wines can be called distinctly Chilean. 

We recently tasted through 14 producers and there were certainly some pronounced themes. Of the 14 producers 9 had a Sauvignon Blanc, most of which were unique depending on their proximity to the water. Global demand for “SauvBlanc” is certainly driving production and their unique Chilean expression is offered at a compelling price point. My favorite wines from the tasting were from a small, natural wine Massachusetts distributor, Indie Wineries. I had the pleasure of drinking the varietal Pais produced from 200 year old vines. I had to ask twice to make sure I heard him right. The wines were complex, clean full of life and fresh red and black fruits. There was something for everyone at the tasting and no two wines were alike. 

Cacique Maravilla

Piepno 2016, 100% Pais from Bio Bio in a liter bottle. 







Cot 2015, 33% Malbec, 33% Pais, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon. 









I would also try the wines from El Viejo Almacen de Sauzal, they too make a 100% Pais as well as a 100% Garnacha, all bio dynamic.

Chile can offer exceptional value, but also exceptional diversity of place making the indigenous varietals sing on their own. All should not be painted with one country brush. Other varietals to look for are Carmenere and Cabernet Franc.


Did you know Pedro Ximenez, the basis for sticky, toffee, gorgeous fortified wines, also expresses itself as an interesting still wine. We tasted a Pedro Ximenez by Mayu from vines at 600 feet above sea level that was clean, balanced and clearly from a cooler climate given the relative acidity and zing in mouth. Don’t shy away from the still wines that serve as the basis for sweeter wines, they can be a wine adventure in and of themselves.  



View the gallery below of other wines we enjoyed at Wines of Chile