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Wine is as popular as ever in America, and with more and more people learning about their own likes and dislikes I’m sure winemakers can rejoice in the ever climbing demand for better quality wines in all price ranges. American consumers can rejoice in the friendly offerings from Chile.
I’ve had the immense privilege to sample some of the best wines Chile has to offer this year at the Wines of Chile 2012 Grand Tasting in New York City. Most of the wines I tried were priced well within most people’s budgets, between $9 and $20 a bottle. While a few offerings command a retail price of over $100, most people’s tastes would be well served by the lower priced wines. All of the wines I sampled were well balanced, not overly tannic, and ready to drink now, which is handy for the majority of us who do not have a suitable space for wine storage.
The sauvignon blancs, were particularly pleasing: mouth watering and refreshingly light, often with citrusy flavors and floral notes, and occasionally hints of peach and apricot.
The chardonnays were much more elegant than I expected, once again with juicy freshness - and depending on the wine maker’s style - some had light hints of oak and butter along with some tropical fruit flavors. My personal favorite was Carmen Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2010 with its flavors of apples, apricots and, yes, a little butter. It was perfectly walking the line between the European and new world styles of chardonnay.
The reds consisted of mostly cabernet, merlot, syrah, and Bordeaux style blends, but there were a few lesser known varietals that all showcased the charm of the terroir. So many of the selections were so good that I found it difficult to name any particularly noteworthy wines out of a group that is clearly not just likeable but outstanding choices; and most at very affordable prices to boot. As a cabernet lover, it’s hard to ignore the good how good the Chilean cabs are. For instance, the Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (about $20) would surely make any cab-lover very happy.
The bottom line is it’s hard not to love Chilean wine. If you haven’t sampled any recently, it’s time you did. To learn more about the Wines of Chile visit http://www.winesofchile.org/.