Wine & Food

Snooth User: Really Big Al

Chilean Wines - Have you tried them?

Posted by Really Big Al, Nov 3, 2015.

Tonight I attended our second tasting of Chilean wines at the Crystal City Wine Shop in Crystal City, Virginia.  This was a special tasting of wines from the Botalcura Winery in Santiago, Chile - special because the Winemaker Philippe Dubrus was there to introduce the wines.  That's me in a selfie with him below.  This winery has been featured before at Snooth, so I was very excited to finally taste some of their wines.  

We had four wines to taste this evening, the Codorniz Sauvignon Blanc from Central Valley, the El Delirio Reserva Chardonnay-Viognier blend from Central Valley, the Codorniz Carmenere from Central Valley and the El Delirio Reserva Syrah-Malbec blend from Maule Valley.  They were all very nice and as such I bought one each of the first three, then three of Syrah-Malbec blend which was very tasty to me.  The Sauvignon Blanc and Carmenere are more of a simple wine style, while the Chardonnay-Viognier and Syrah-Malbec blends are very complex.  

Has anyone else in the forum tried one of these wines?  What about other Chilean wines?


Reply by dvogler, Nov 3, 2015.

Personally, I think a lot of the Chilean stuff I can get is not particularly good.  There IS good stuff to be sure.  When I was in Brazil I brought back some Aresti wines that I tasted and loved them.  I can't find them here anywhere.  I prefer Argentine versus Chilean generally.  The last Chilean Carmenere I had tasted like they definitely added something to it (artificial).

Reply by GregT, Nov 4, 2015.

Of course we've tried them. For years I didn't care much for the reds as many of them tended to be both green and over-ripe at the same time. The whites were OK and sometimes quite good. And wines that were not from the Cab family, like say, Syrah, were tolerable.Even those at the $100 US range weren't all that great. For the most part I agree with DV about Chile vs Argentina - we always said that Chile was on the wrong side of the mountains.

In the past 20 years they've improved immensely. About two weeks ago I was at a tasting of wines from Chile and Argentina and I was simply floored by the quality of the Chilean wines. Mind you, they do or would retail from $40 USD up to over $100, but at each price point I was mentally comparing to Napa wines and the wines from Chile were coming out on top. They've figured out how to manage their vineyards to eliminate a lot of the vegetal notes, they've kept the structure and backbone of the fruit while not forgetting that we're drinking a juice that is in fact from fruit and not celery, and I'm very interested in trying more.

In addition, they're moving beyond just more Cab and Merlot. Their Merlot was always a little better than their Cab IMO, but they're doing stuff like Petite Sirah for example, and doing it well. Petite Verdot is still, well, Petit Verdot. But even their Cabs can be quite good. And the whites were as good as ever. It's a big country in terms of potential wine sites, so i'ts hard to talk about "Chilean" as a single wine type - it's sort of like talking about the wines from a country that stretched from Maine to Florida as if they were all of a type. But I'd encourage people to explore. Not the $10 Chilean stuff that's been around for years, but some higher end wines.

And BTW Al - Brazil and Uruguay also make interesting, and often good, wine.

Reply by Really Big Al, Nov 4, 2015.

Thanks for the good background information GT.  I did try some type of wine from Brazil when we were in Rio last year and I didn't like it.  I had heard from fellow travelers that they don't make good wine in Brazil.  I would be interested to learn of what good Brazilian wines are available.  One place that makes terrible wine, for sure, is Vietnam.  I won't try their wine again.

By the way, the Botalcura distributor, who was also present at the tasting, said their wines are available on the west coast in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  

Reply by dvogler, Nov 4, 2015.


There are some good wines in Brazil, but they are only from the southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul.  It's actually gets cold there in their winter.  It's true though, most of the wine isn't that great.  Too hot and humid for the most part. 

Reply by Sheraz123, Jan 3, 2016.

I love Chilean wines, but just try few of them, how is the wine in Itata valley, are they good or not?

Reply by Really Big Al, Jan 4, 2016.

I have not yet tried a Chilean wine from the Itata Valley region.  I would be willing to try a Cabernet Sauvignon or Melot if I could find one locally.  

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