While Argentinean winemakers hog the media spotlight with the dexterity of Kim Kardashian, their neighbours in Chile have been quietly producing some of best wines made in South America.
Famous (almost to a fault) for its cheap, consistent table wines, Chile has had trouble finding a foothold in the market for much of anything else. It's a liquid travesty that takes on biblical proportions when you consider the diversity of styles and intensity of flavour you can squeeze out of the country for less than $15.
Though all the A-list berries are grown there, Chile's grape king (with all due respect to carmenère) is cabernet sauvignon. Brought from France in the mid-1800s, cabernet literally dominates the Chilean landscape, producing the grape's full spectrum of red meat-ready profiles from light and simple to full-bodied and enduring.
The 2008 MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva ($12.00 - $14.75) offers up a balanced, creamy personality with blackberry, currant, coffee and light mocha flavours and soft, dry tannins. Very New World.
On the other end of the scale, the dark red fruit, young tannins and black coffee and wood finish of the 2009 Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.00 - $15.25) shows its European influences.
Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces. Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and traveling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.