Value wines… indeed are the holy grail of all wine writers whether big or small like me. We taste and taste and always strive to find the next wine holy grail: wines that combine great quality at an affordable price, wines that most of our readers will love and easily find.
And of course, when thinking about that, South America always comes to mind, and especially Chile, also known as the Bordeaux of Latin America, it is the ideal place where any wine lover can find outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon without breaking the bank.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Chile is like the perfect marriage, since from the beginning and influenced by the French, this grape became the flagship of all Chilean producers. These days over 40,200 hectares are dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon, flourishing in almost every Chilean appellation from the Atacama desert to the Araucania region down the coast. Yet, the best wines are produced very close to the capital of Chile: Santiago. Here from Chile’s Central Valley, and in particular from the Maipo Valley hail the best samples of note. Colchagua, located 80 miles south is another important enclave.
Stylistically, Chilean Cabernets differ according to the location of the vineyards, those planted at high altitudes, like in the between ranges or Alto zones, tend to be more elegant and refined, showing Cabernet Sauvignon’s angular structure and herbal notes. While vineyards from the warmer, lower valleys tend to have riper fruit, rounder structures and smoother tannings. For more information about the climate, soils and terroirs in Chile please read my article about Chilean reds published in February 2021.
Here are my five Chilean Cab recommendations that I hope you will try soon!
Miguel Torres Reserva Especial Cordillera Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2018, Maipo Valley $20
Renowned Spanish Wine producer Miguel Torres has been making wines in Chile since 1979. This reserva especial is made from 100 % Cabernet Sauvignon, vinified in stainless steel and aged for 18 months in a blend of French and German oak. This medium plus bodied red delivers blackberry and dark cherry aromas combined with leather and smoky/ toasty notes, featuring vibrant acidity and an elegant finish with silky tannins.
Echeverría Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Maipo Valley, $25
This suave red is made from a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, and 5% Carmenere. It’s vinified in stainless steel tanks and aged for 12 months in French oak. This full- bodied red delivers dry currant, chocolate and green peppercorn notes, complemented with a touch of balsamic and mild pyrazine (green pepper) notes. Chewy tannins support the textured structure.
Maquis Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Colchagua Valley $20
This round and velvety red is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carmenere and 1% Petit Verdot. Clay rich soils in Colchagua yield a denser, smoother and fatter Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is full of plum and blueberry notes, mixed with spicy cinnamon and clove. The finish is long and tight with smooth yet very present tannins.
Los Vascos Cromas Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Colchagua Valley $22
The Lafite Rothchilds of Bordeaux’s great fame produce this everyday Chilean red, a combination of the best of the new and the old worlds. Cromas is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 10% Syrah, and 5% Carmenere. Indeed!, a velvety red that yields plenty of raspberry and red cherry notes, with bay leaf, tobacco and graphite aromas. This wine was aged for 12 months in second hand French oak. It has a nice and flavorful finish.
Terranoble Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Colchagua Valley, $20
A perfumed, seductive red, made from a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This full-bodied tinto delivers layers of plum, violet, blueberry and chocolate framed by spice and inky notes. Its fine tannins build up its wonderful depth and lovely structure.
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