It’s time to revisit Chile! The wines of Chile are relatively inexpensive, but the quality is through the roof. While Chile is almost 3000 miles in length located on South America’s western edge. The grape growing areas only thrive in an area 800 miles long. For a comparison, that is the equivalent of driving from Charlotte to Boston. The climate varies greatly!
The Central Valleys
The northern part of the wine growing area is high desert with the grapes being grown destined for the still. The Central Valleys surrounding Santiago is where the real magic happens. Most of the established houses are based in this area due to its proximity to the capital of Chile.
Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and Carmenere
Cabernet is king in the area, followed by Merlot, Syrah and Carmenere. Concha y Toro, Chile’s largest producer, makes a range of wines, from the Sunrise Cabernet at under $10 retail, all the way to Don Melchor at $100. Don Melchor is a partnership with Jacques Boissenot who consulted with 4 of the 5 first growth Bordeaux houses.
Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley
The Central Valleys make world-class Cabernet, Syrah and Carmenere, but Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc coming from the Casablanca Valley are really starting to take off. The Kingston Family Winery is one of the benchmark producers in the area. Five generations in, they were named Winery of the Year by Wine and Spirits Magazine in 2011. They also were featured in a James Beard dinner hosted in New York. All of their wines are actually named after their horses on the farm. Let’s get to some of the wines!
2017 Kingston Family Alazan Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley
The Alazan is a more serious bottle than the Tobiano, showing more dark fruit yet the wine is light on its feet with bright acidity and will benefit from a little time in the cellar. It is intensely aromatic and savory with a spicy finish.
2018 Kingston Family Cariblanco Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley
This is classic Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Bright, dried citrus with a touch of sea salt and fresh cut grass. This wine goes great with salads, shellfish and even lobster! It cuts through the drawn butter that is served with it.
Byron Kosuge brings 30 years of winemaking experience to Chile, formerly working at some of the best houses in California, including Hirsch, Pisoni and Talley.
Adam Arlen: “I am passionate about wine because it is history in a bottle.” He is the sommelier for The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC. Originally from Allentown, PA, he believes you should always branch out and find new things. His goal is to never stop learning and continuing to grow both personally and professionally. A fun fact about him: “I was a nuclear engineer on a submarine in a previous life.”