If up and coming winemakers, a fantastic range of wines and great value are your thing, look no further - Chilean wine is for you.
Great Value Wines
Following in the footsteps of the Australians who made their mark on the sub £5 market, Chilean wine production has shot through the roof in recent years. So if you are looking to spend around £5 on a bottle of wine, youíll find a selection of very drinkable bottles of Chilean wine to choose from.
But itís not all about wines at the lower end of the market. Thanks to several copper billionaires investing in wineries, youíll also find several pretty decent tasting bottles of Chilean wine at the higher end of the scale. Many top-end French Chateaux and other old world producers have invested heavily in Chile too, and are producing excellent Chilean fine wines. Domaine Barons de Rothschild-Lafite, one of the big French makers, produces the exceptional Vina Los Vascos in Chile. Not only are they exempt from complex French wine laws when they make wine in Chile (meaning they have free reign over the production techniques), but the climate, soil, and fact that Chile is virtually Phylloxera free, makes it the ideal place to experiment and really push the boundaries of wine making.
Due to the diversity of Chileís landscape and climate, a bottle of Chilean wine will taste vastly different depending on whereabouts in the country it is produced. So whether itís a fresh, fruity Chardonnay, a searing, pure Sauvignon Blanc, a juicy, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon or one of the smoothest, finest bottles of Merlot that youíve ever tasted, you can be sure that you wonít get bored when it comes to tasting Chilean wine.
If you fancy tasting something a little different, try a bottle of Carmenere. Carmenere used to be grown in France but it was ravaged by disease and generally thought to have become extinct. In the 1990ís, a professor from Montpellier realised that about 50% of what people thought was Chilean Merlot was, in fact, Carmenere and it had been imported to Chile before the outbreak of phylloxera wiped out the European stocks. Rather than hiding quietly in the background, pretending to be Merlot, the wonderful grape growing conditions in Chile has allowed it to express the best of its characteristics and reveal itself. Carmenere is fast developing into Chileís signature grape and is often described as a cross between the two great heavyweights Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It can vary between being smooth and fruity, and being a dark smoky mouthful. Chilean Carmenere is also great with a variety of foods. Try the lighter styles with pork and roasted vegetables, whilst the heavier numbers go wonderfully with richer darker meats.
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Louise Truswell works in and writes about the wine industry.To find out more and to choose from a range of Chilean wine, visit www.virginwines.com
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