Modern Chilean wine is now just over 20 years old. Chilean wine spans an entire generation of European wine drinkers and is already working on a second, especial when it comes to Chilean Red and in particular Chile Red Merlot is a huge hit.
The country is slowly transitioning from bargain varietal wine to quality/value wines from recognized appellations; in short, they are wines with a better story to tell. Chile’s ultimate development depends upon moving beyond the value-for-money moniker that smothers its wines much the way an early morning Pacific fog blankets its coastal vineyards.
The current mantra is to get to the coast or up the mountains. Neither area is cheap to farm and you expect to pay more for such wine but the quality, and more importantly the allure of Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Chardonnay or Riesling, well, you name the region — is so far removed from the Chilean wines of the 1990s that its transformation can, and should, provide the impetus for a major shift in the psychology of Chilean wine among retailers and consumers.
Chile’s strength is isolated wine regions. Naturally made wines, all of them, should be its focus for the next decade. Syrah, Pinot Noir and Merlot will likely be the stars of the next decade, along with the likes of Carignan, Riesling and more innovative and creative red blends.
No one knows better what the wines of Chile have to offer than the Chileans themselves. It is time Chile decided what is best for it future. One such promising group is the Movement of Independent Vintners.
Movi calls itself an association of small, quality-oriented Chilean wineries who have come together to share a common goal to make wine personally, on a human scale and to promote a passion for the endeavours of growing grapes and crafting fine wine. I’ll second that.
Kenny’s Sipping suggestions of top notch Chilean Red Wine and Chile Red Merlot:
Santa Alicia Gran Reserva Merlot Chile, £7.99
Polero Merlot Chile, £5.59
Santa Rita Honoring 120 Merlot, Chile, £6.59
Tierra Del Rey Merlot, Chile, £6.49
Santiano Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, £5.59
Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir 2009 Chile, £7.69
Concha y Toro Carmenere, Chile, £6.39
*These prices are correct at the time of writing.