Chile

Chilean Wines


The real strength of Chile as a wine producing nation lies in reds.


Chile has totally supplanted Australia as a source of characterful reds in the £7.50-£11.00 range. Just as Australia took the wine world by storm in the late 1970s and 1980s, so Chile should be taking the plaudits today. We feel there is still a mild prejudice against Chilean wine - there shouldn’t be.


Initially Chilean red production was based on Merlot (although a lot of that turned out to be Carmenère - see below) and Cabernet Sauvignon. The latter remains by far the most widely planted grape, and Chile is fast moving away from the successful, blackcurrant and eucalyptus/mint formula: now they are seeking wines now with a sense of place. Maipo, just south of Santiago, is the historic heart of Cabernet plantings - here the variety enjoys the gravelly soils near the Maipo River - but there’s excellent Cabernet coming out of Alto Cachapoal and Aconcagua too.


The other great success story of recent years has been Pinot Noir. Chile has become the best source of good value Pinot Noir in the world, and now the Chileans are also making finer, ageworthy examples too, especially in the south, but also in coastal sites such as at the mouth of the Aconcagua Valley. Carmenère, an obscure Bordeaux variety, was only identified in Chilean vineyards by a French ampelographer, Jean-Michel Boursiquot, in 1994. It turned out, to some Chilean estates’ confusion, that a good proportion of the nation’s Merlot vineyards were actually Carmenère. Once growers distinguished the vine from Merlot, they could give it different viticultural attention: Carmenère benefits from careful canopy management and ripens three weeks after Merlot. Jancis Robinson and her collaborators in Wine Grapes inform us that the grape is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Gros Cabernet. I find this reassuring as I have been comparing the flavour profile of Chilean Carmenère to super-charged Cabernet Franc for years. Like Cabernet Franc it often combines intense fruit with a touch of leafiness and hints of smoke and tobacco. It also takes oak-ageing well. There are those who would claim that is approaching the status of the national grape of Chile, as Malbec is for Argentina. But whilst Malbec is wholly dominant in the country across the Andes, Carmenère plays very much second fiddle to Cabernet in Chile. Rather its status is akin to that of Zinfandel in California or Pinotage in South Africa, as being more or less unique to a country, but only making up one element in the local viticultural tapestry.


Two other grapes deserve mention: Carignan was largely first planted in the Maule Valley after a devastating earthquake in 1939, replacing the workhorse grape País. Recently Vigno, was founded as the association of "Vignadores de Carignan". The rules of the group are firm: for a wine to carry the Vigno name it has to be from the fruit of vines at least 35 years old, dry-farmed (i.e. no irrigation); it has to contain at least 65% Carignan; and it has to be aged for at least two years before release. The latecomer to Chile - but fast being planted now - is Syrah / Shiraz. With better matching of the variety to site and less new oak being employed, the results are more than promising.


The strength of Stone, Vine & Sun’s Chilean portfolio won us the 2015 International Wine Challenge award for Specialist Merchant for Chile.

Chile

  • Apaltagua, Gran Verano Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle Central, 2016

    Product Code: APA316

    Apaltagua, Gran Verano Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle Central, 2016

    “Gran Verano is the second label of Viña Apaltagua. This is such a good value Chilean Cabernet, unoaked, and displaying true varietal character and...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Central Valley
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Apaltagua, Grial, Colchagua, 2008

    Product Code: APA508

    Apaltagua, Grial, Colchagua, 2008

    “Grial is the Grail: this wine represents Apaltagua’s attempt to make the finest 100% Carmenère possible from a selection of the best bunches of...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Colchagua
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
  • Errazuriz, Pinot Noir, Aconcagua Costa, 2015

    Product Code: ERR915

    Errazuriz, Pinot Noir, Aconcagua Costa, 2015

    “Grace and elegance define the aromatics on this Pinot: forest fruits, spices and dark chocolate. It is truly round, smooth and deliciously creamy....”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Aconcagua
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Cousino Macul, Finis Terrae, Maipo, 2011

    Product Code: COT411

    Cousino Macul, Finis Terrae, Maipo, 2011

    “This is a superb blend, a really stunning wine which is guaranteed to impress. 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 8% Syrah in this vintage, all...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium-Full Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maipo
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
  • Apaltagua, Gran Verano Carmenère, Valle Central, 2016

    Product Code: APA816

    Apaltagua, Gran Verano Carmenère, Valle Central, 2016

    “Carmenère, a Bordeaux grape related to Cabernet Franc, is much more successful in the heat of Chile than it in its home in France. We think it is...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Central Valley
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Aquitania, Reserva Carmenère, Valle del Maipo, 2014

    Product Code: AQU614

    Aquitania, Reserva Carmenère, Valle del Maipo, 2014

    “Including 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and part oaked in old barrels, this is a delightful Carmenère. It's really perfumed, with the raspberry and...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Light Medium Bodied

    Rated 2 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maipo
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13%
    More Info
  • Aquitania, Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle del Maipo, 2011

    Product Code: AQU811

    Aquitania, Lazuli Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle del Maipo, 2011

    “A hint of graphite mingles beautifully with the fresh spearmint and cassis. Cool blue-tinged berry fruit, viloets and a wonderful touch of salty...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maipo
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14.3%
    More Info
  • Volcanes de Chile, Tectonia Pinot Noir, Bio Bio, 2014

    Product Code: VOL314

    Volcanes de Chile, Tectonia Pinot Noir, Bio Bio, 2014

    “"Ripe, rich cherry and redcurrant flavours, generous and complex spice. The wine feels fresh and crunchy with a grippy, tangy style that seems...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Bio Bio
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Errazuriz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Alto, 2013

    Product Code: ERR513

    Errazuriz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Alto, 2013

    “From 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot, from vines grown on stony, colluvial soils from the estate’s vineyards on the...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Aconcagua
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
  • Volcanes de Chile, Parinacota, Maule, 2012

    Product Code: VOL812

    Volcanes de Chile, Parinacota, Maule, 2012

    “"For an irresistible offer on an absolute treat, visit stonevine.co.uk and order a bottle of sleek, powerful Volcanes de Chile Parinacota 2012...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maule
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
  • Volcanes de Chile, Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Rapel Valley, 2014

    Product Code: VOL114

    Volcanes de Chile, Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Rapel Valley, 2014

    “Deep youthful ruby. Lightly oaked - appealing notes of vanilla and cinnamon on the black-fruited aromas. This is a young wine, but, like the last...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Rapel Valley
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14%
    More Info
  • Tutunjian, Entre Valles, Chile, 2013

    Product Code: TUT113

    Tutunjian, Entre Valles, Chile, 2013

    “The Tutunjian family own the Apaltagua winery in the Apalta sub-region of Colchagua, where this wine is made. It exemplifies the freedom of working...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Full Bodied

    Rated 4 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Chile
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 14.5%
    More Info
  • Valle Frio, Pinot Noir, Maule, 2015

    Product Code: FRI315

    Valle Frio, Pinot Noir, Maule, 2015

    “We have been hunting around for a really great value Chilean Pinot for some time, and last autumn we found it. This comes from vines with some age...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Light bodied

    Rated 2 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maule
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Valle Frio, Carmenère, Maule, 2015

    Product Code: FRI215

    Valle Frio, Carmenère, Maule, 2015

    “We were knocked out by this new find when we tasted samples last autumn. Carmenere, originally a Bordeaux grape, is related to Cabernet Franc - and...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maule
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info
  • Valle Frio, Merlot, Maule, 2015

    Product Code: FRI115

    Valle Frio, Merlot, Maule, 2015

    “Honest, lightly oaked, juicy and friendly Chilean Merlot - yet a huge step up from a basic house wine example. There's a hint of cinnamon on the...”

    Stone, Vine & Sun rating

    Medium Bodied

    Rated 3 out of 5
    Light > Full
    • Origin: Chile
    • Region: Maule
    • Colour: Red
    • Bottle Size: 75cl
    • ABV: 13.5%
    More Info

Stone, Vine & Sun's
wine awards and press

View them here!
By continuing to use this site you agree to the use of cookies. For more information and to find out how to change this click here